Paragould exploded for 40 first half points and cruised to a 46-8 victory over Manila Thursday night in junior high football action at Paragould.
The Rams scored twice in the first quarter and tacked on three more touchdowns in the second period against an injury plagued Lion squad, who appeared flat following last week's emotional victory over Marked Tree.
"We had three starters out in key positions for us," said Manila Coach Toby Doke. "We had some guys in there who haven't played a lot of football, and they were doing the best they could. But there wasn't much there for us tonight. Paragould was much more physical than us. They whipped us at the point of attack. They are a good football team, a 5A school. Coach Sloas (Michael) does a good job. It was a rusty looking football game for us."
Paragould held Manila on a three and out, forcing a Lion punt which went for no gain, giving the Rams excellent field position deep in Manila territory. The Rams scored on their very first play when running back Skylar Rowe scampered 18 yards, giving Paragould the early lead. Romeo Hernandez ran in for the two point conversion to put the Rams up 8-0 with 6:28 left in the first period.
Manila turned the ball over on their next possession when Paragould's Alex Burroughs picked off a Dillon Burrow pass at the Ram 46 yard line. Paragould marched 54 yards in eight plays, scoring their second touchdown on a 12-yard keeper by quarterback Chance Sugg. Hernandez converted the two point run to give the Rams a 16-0 lead at the 2:08 mark of the opening quarter.
Manila's only highlight of the night came on their next possession. Burrow found Brian Borden for 14 yards for the Lions initial first down of the night. On the next play, Burrow connected with Brent Ray near midfield and the freshman raced untouched down the right sideline, completing a 65 yard play for Manila's only touchdown of the night. Burrow found Borden for the two point conversion pass to pull the Lions to 16-8 with 1:31 left in the opening period.
Paragould put the game away with a 24 point second quarter explosion. Paragould started the scoring barrage when Sugg connected with wide receiver Nathan Summitt on a seven yard touchdown pass early in the second period. The two point conversion run by Sugg gave the Rams a 24-9 lead.
Sugg teamed with Summitt again on the Rams next possession, this time for a 21-yard pass play. Rowe's two point conversion run increased the Paragould lead to 32-8 with 6:03 left in the half.
Paragould closed the first half when Rowe scored his second touchdown of the night, rambling in from 19 yards out at the 2:31 mark. Sugg's two point pass to Chase Simpson gave the Rams a 40-8 lead at the half.
Paragould scored the game's only touchdown of the second half as Rowe scampered 35 yards to the end zone for his third score of the night. The two point conversion play failed, but the Rams had a 46-8 lead with 1:37 left in the third period.
Paragould rolled up 306 yards of total offense, including 258 on the ground. Hernandez led all rushers with 88 yards on 12 carries while Rowe added 86 more on just six attempts. Sugg picked up 55 yards on six totes and one touchdown. Sugg completed all three of his pass attempts for 48 yards and one score. Summitt caught all three of Sugg's passes on the night.
Burrow completed 3-18 passes for 73 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The eighth grader ran 13 times for 34 yards. Ray caught two passes for 69 yards and a touchdown while Borden caught one pass for four yards.
Manila returns to action Thursday night when they travel to Nettleton to take on the Raiders. Kick off is set for 7:00 at Raider Field.