Sports Profiles: Riley Manzo and Bryce Coop Seek to Build Off Football Win

Theodore Weiss, Senior Reporter

It’s been a roller coaster of a ride this season for the Manitou Springs Varsity Football team. At first glance, the team was going downhill. They lost five games to open the season.

Of course the tough losses softened the teams’ confidence, but when times got tough, the leaders on the team were able to step up and motivate the team to get a win on the big league homecoming game against Florence winning 27-20 to improve to a 1-1 league record and 1-5
overall record.

Two leaders who have really stepped up this season are outside linebacker and wide receiver Riley Manzo (12) and wide receiver Bryce Coop (11).

Losing so many games has been a blow to the confidence of the team, and as a leader, Manzo has motivated his team on and off the field. “I always tell then keep working hard and nothing is over till it’s over and you gotta push,” he says.

It’s a big step up for Manzo as an outside linebacker. “It’s a big responsibility, because you always have to push your hardest and really set an example for the younger kids,” he says.

Manzo was instrumental during the game, after receiving a pass by quarterback Cole Sienknecht (10) ran at around the 10 yard line, he was able to walk into the touchdown zone, untouched, for his fourth touchdown of the season.

“It was a rush of a feeling, knowing that you made a huge controversial play in an important game us one of the best feelings, not only going on to win the game,” said Manzo.

On the other hand, Coop is known for his crucial tackles and explosive plays, said Head Coach Monte Gutowski. “He brings a lot to the table because he is really explosive so he gives us a big vertical help.”

Gutowski also went on to say that, off the field, Coop has really stepped ups his season, not only in what he does on the field, but off. “He’s really taken ownership of that [leadership], even as a underclassman. And as a junior, he really hasn’t shied away from that. He’s continued to do things before and after practice,” he said.

Last Friday, Coop made a crucial catch during Manitou’s win over Florence that helped Manitou win.

“Last week he made a huge catch….that really opened things up overall, even though he was only thrown to three times throughout the game, but I feel like that was a crucial point of just being able to stretch the field out,” said Gutowski.

Both Manzo and Coop hope to build on this win after a tough start. The team is still 2-1 in league, and a chance for playoffs isn’t a long shot.

Manitou plays away at 4-3 Trinidad for a big conference game. Coop and Manzo hope to build off the momentum from last week’s win.