Freshman quarterback Dillon Burrow ran for three touchdowns and passed for one more to lead the Junior Lions to a convincing 38-0 shutout victory in the season opener over Caruthersville Thursday night at Manila.
"Dillon is a great athlete and football player," said Manila Coach Jason Durham. "He put on a show tonight. This was a big win for us, opening up the season on our home field. We are very excited about getting off to a good start."
Things got off on the wrong foot for the Lions early when Carthersville's Steven Clay took the opening kickoff 89 yards to the Manila one. But the Lion defense rose to the occasion two plays later, forcing a Tiger fumble which was recovered by Manila's Damon Clapp to thwart the early threat.
After a scoreless first period, the Lions finally got on the board when Burrow scampered 25 yards for Manila's first touchdown with 7:05 left in the half. The two point conversion attempt failed, leaving the Lions with a 6-0 lead.
A muffed punt by the Tigers led to excellent field position for Manila on their next possession. Starting at the Carthersville 35 yard line, the Lions struck quickly when Burrow connected with Dylan Bogle on a 30 yard pass play down the right sideline to set up a first and goal at the Tiger five. Lion running back Jordan Brewer barreled in from five yards out to give Manila a 12-0 lead at the 3:29 mark. The two point conversion attempt failed.
Manila took the opening kickoff in the third period and marched 50 yards for their third touchdown of the game, scoring on a three yard scamper by Burrow at the 5:30 mark. Manila's two point conversion attempt failed, leaving the Lions with an 18-0 advantage.
Manila's defense, which held Caruthersville to minus 47 yards on the night, stuffed the Tigers on their next possession, and Manila scored their fourth touchdown of the game on a 28 yard scoring strike from Burrow to Brewer with 2:02 left in the third quarter. Shane Lee's two point conversion run pushed the Lion lead to 26-0.
Manila tacked on two more scores in the fourth quarter, with one coming on a three yard run from Burrow before Tucker Miller capped off the Lion's scoring with a three yard touchdown run of his own, giving Manila the season opening win.
Burrow finished the night with 74 yards on the ground on just seven carries while completing two passes for 58 yards and a score. Brewer led the Lions in rushing with 89 yards on seven totes while Bogle carried twice for 43 yards and Miller rushed three times for 20 yards. Manila finished the night with 283 yards total offense.
"We've been talking about focusing on this opening game for a while, so this was a special win for us tonight on our home field," said Durham. "We ran the ball well tonight and our defense was fantastic, holding Caruthersville to negative yardage. They stunned us early with that opening kickoff return, but our defense came up with a big turnover to give us the momentum. We really haven't had a chance to work on special teams like we should, but I'll take the blame for that. That's my fault. But thankfully, our defense took the ball back and made up for that. Then our offense took the ball 80 yards and even though the drive stalled, we turned the field position around and took over the game from there."
The Lions will return to action Thursday night when they play host to Paragould. The seventh grade game will kick off at 5:00 p.m. followed by the junior high contest at 7:00.