(Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)
The Colts scored five rushing touchdowns with runs of 71, 50, and 37 yards in rolling up 246 yards of offense on the ground. Rivercrest quarterback Allen Walker proved efficient through the air, completing five of seven passes for 89 yards and two more scores as Rivercrest lit up the scoreboard throughout the night.
Walker got the Colts on the board on Rivercrest's first possession, taking advantage of a Manila fumble on the Lion's first play of the game. Starting from the Lion 42 yard line, the Colts took just three plays to reach the end zone, capped off by Walker's 20 yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Garrett Lane at the 6:49 mark of the opening period. Walker tacked on the two point conversion run, and the Colts had an 8-0 lead.
Manila put together a promising drive on their next possession following the Colt's score, moving 54 yards in 10 plays. But on a fourth and seven from the Rivercrest 23, Manila quarterback Dillon Burrow was stopped short of the first down marker, ending the Lion drive.
Manila's defense stopped the Colts on three plays, forcing a punt and giving the Lions splendid field position at the Rivercrest 43 yard line. Manila made it as far as the Colt 35 before Burrow was picked off by Clayton Carlton, ending the Lion threat.
The Colts struck quickly when running back Robert Cooney found a seam and raced 71 yards around right end for Rivercrest's second touchdown of the night with 4:09 left in the half. Phillip Porter's point after attempt failed, leaving the Colts with a 14-0 lead.
On Manila's next possession, the Lions faced a fourth and six from their own 39. Lion Coach Jason Durham called for a fake punt, which worked perfectly when Jordan Brewer took the direct snap from center and rambled 28 yards for a Manila first down at the Rivercrest 33. A personal foul penalty wiped out a Colt interception, giving Manila new life at the Colt nine yard line. The Lions took advantage of the opportunity when Burrow hooked up with Dylan Bogle on a nine yard touchdown completion with 2:00 left in the half. Burrow found Shane Lee open in the end zone for the two point conversion pass to pull the Lions to within 14-8.
Rivercrest came right back, returning the Lion kickoff to their own 45 yard line and giving the Colts excellent field position. After two plays produced two yards, Cooney ripped off a 37 yard run to the Manila 16 yard line. Facing a third and sixteen from the Lion 22, Walker spotted Cooney along the left sidelines for a 19 yard pass play to the Lion three yard line, stopping the clock with 16 seconds left in the half. Carlton bulled over from three yards out to give Rivercrest a 20-8 lead at the half.
"The touchdown right before the end of the half really hurt," said Manila Coach Jason Durham. "That has happened to us several times this season, and it really gave Rivercrest momentum going into the dressing room," said Durham.
(Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)
Manila turned the ball over on their first possession of the second half, giving the Colts excellent field position at the Lion 32 yard line. Walker immediately made the Lions pay, throwing a 32 yard touchdown pass to Taylor in the left corner of the end zone. Walker's two point pass to Lane gave the Colts a 36-8 advantage with 6:15 left in the quarter.
Manila answered with an eight play, 61 yard drive. Burrow got the touchdown march started with a 27 yard screen pass to Brewer, giving the Lions a first down at the Colt 34. After a four yard completion to Brewer on Manila's next play, Burrow teamed with Lee for another 27 yard pass completion to the Colt 12. Lee made a spectacular fingertip catch on the play, setting up the Lion touchdown, a three yard ramble by Brewer to cut the Colt lead to 36-14 with 3:53 to go in the third period.
The Colts tacked on two fourth quarter touchdowns, the first on a 37 yard run by D'Tyler Baber. Devionte Grey rounded out the scoring with a 17 yard touchdown run with four seconds left in the game, giving the Colts the 48-14 victory.
Cooney rushed for 138 yards on only eight carries to lead the Colts on the ground. Carlton also carried eight times for 51 yards and a pair of scores. The Colts finished with 335 yards of total offense on the night.
Burrow finished the night 8-20 passing for 107 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Lee led all receivers with three catches for 68 yards. Brewer caught three receptions for 35 yards while Bogle snared two passes for four yards and a score. Brewer led the Lions in rushing, carrying nine times for 65 yards and a touchdown. Burrow rushed 10 times for 12 yards while Tucker Miller carried once for two yards.
The Lions had 167 yards of total offense on the evening.
"We had too many mistakes and we couldn't capitalize on the opportunities we had," said Durham. "You can't do that against a talented team like Rivercrest. But I thought our effort was real good tonight. I am really proud of my ninth graders. They are the core of the program and I expect them to do big things before they are through. Dillon Burrow made some good throws tonight and Shane Lee came up with some excellent receptions. Jordan Brewer had a great game. He is going to continue to get better and better. He's a real shifty runner and he's really strong. We had some opportunities to have a winning season this year but we couldn't quite capitalize on our chances. But we just kept plugging along. Sometimes the breaks didn't go our way, but we kept up the hard work and had great practices all year. You can't ask for much more than that."
The Lions finished the season with a 3-6 record.