Town Crier Sports Staff
Frankie Cowgill's 46-yard field goal provided Manila with one of their few highlights of the night as Nettleton rolled to a 34-3 victory Monday night at Raider Field in junior varsity action.
Nettleton got on the board early when Victor Flores scooped up a Manila fumble and raced 25 yards for the game's first touchdown at the 8:59 mark of the opening period. The Raiders two point conversion attempt failed, leaving Nettleton with a 6-0 lead.
The Lions got off to a good start on their first offensive possession when running back Steven Green rambled 19 yards into Raider territory to the 45 yard line. The Lions picked up a first down on a fourth and five play as Cowgill churned his way for five yards to the Nettleton 35 yard line. Josh Miles picked up the Lion's second consecutive first down with a 10-yard run of his own, but the Raider defense stiffened, forcing Manila to settle for a long field goal attempt. Cowgill's 46-yard boomer sailed through the uprights with room to spare, pulling Manila to within 6-3 with 5:45 left in the opening quarter.
"Frankie Cowgill can kick the football," said Manila Coach Toby Doke. "He can kick a 50-yarder and he can nail it. He can kick them with consistency at a pretty solid percentage. He is a heck of a kicker."
The Lions had a chance to grab the lead when Green pounced on Raider quarterback Blake Johnson's fumble at the Nettleton 49 yard line, but Manila was unable to capitalize and was forced to punt as the first quarter ended.
Nettleton took over at their own 35 yard line after a short Lion punt and marched 64 yards in seven plays to score their first offensive touchdown of the night on a 19-yard pass from Johnson to wide receiver Kyle Schmidt. Johnson connected with Schmidt again on the two point conversion pass to push the Raider lead to 14-3 at the 6:17 mark of the second period.
The Raider defense forced a Lion punt on Manila's next possession. Nettleton's T.J. Eskridge fielded Blake Wheeler's 23-yard punt at the Raider 45 yard line and scooted untouched into the end zone for a 55-yard score. Nettleton tacked on the point after attempt, giving the Raiders a 21-3 lead with 4:06 left in the half.
Manila took over at their own 26 yard line on their next possession and faced a fourth and two, but Greene was stopped short of the first down marker, giving the Raiders excellent field position deep in Lion territory. Johnson found Kevion Moore on a 10-yard crossing pattern to the Lion 24. After a delay of game penalty against the Raiders, Johnson broke containment and scrambled 29 yards across the field to put Nettleton up 27-3 with a little over 1:00 until halftime.
Nettleton scored the second half's only points on their first possession, marching 67 yards in just six plays. Johnny Colburn scored from 12 yards out and Flores added the PAT, giving the Raiders a 34-3 lead with 6:20 left in the third period.
"Nettleton jumped out on us 27-3 in the first half and we played 7-0 in the second half against a good Nettleton team that has some speed," said Doke. "All of those guys might not be playing on Friday nights, but they have some guys that can run. Our kids adjusted to the speed of the game the second half. We moved the ball all night long, but we didn't eliminate the mistakes, the fumbles, the missed assignments, and those things are killing us. When we start summing those up, we'll be in good shape."
Manila finished the night with 51 yards rushing on 26 carries. Wheeler led the way with 23 yards on 16 totes while Green carried three times for 18 yards. Miles picked up eight yards on three carries while Cowgill had one carry for five yards and Kyle Evans finished with two yards on one carry. Wheeler completed one of nine passes to Green for 33 yards.
Nettleton rolled up 260 yards of total offense, including 207 on the ground, led by Johnson's ten carry, 99 yard performance. Moore rushed three times for 44 yards while Colburn picked up 23 yards on seven carries. Johnson finished 4-7 through the air for 53 yards and one touchdown. Moore caught three passes for 34 yards to lead the Raider receiving core.