Colts stampede Lions 56-6 in season finale

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rivercrest scored seven first half touchdowns to take a commanding 49-0 halftime lead and went on to demolish a banged-up Manila team 56-7 Thursday night at Wilson. The loss ended the Lion's inaugural season of senior high football, leaving Manila with an overall record of 1-9 and 0-7 in 3A-3 conference play.

Manila guard Zach Birmingham (61) holds his block against Rivercrest split end Michael Wright (6) in the Lion's season finale Thursday night at Wilson. (Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)

"We are really beat and banged up right now," said Manila Coach Toby Doke. "It's been a tough year and I think the kids are ready to get into the off season to start working in the weight room for next year. We had a couple of starters out tonight because of sickness. We are just worn down. But I am very proud of the kids. We have three seniors who could have quit at any time, but they hung in there and they will be better men for it. Our young kids fought and gave us all they could give us. A season like this is not easy, getting beat every week. But the kids still showed up for practice and never gave up all year long. We are going to take the time in the off season to try to get bigger, stronger and faster because we play in a very tough conference."

Manila got off to a good start defensively, forcing the Colts to punt on their first possession after just three plays. But after a Manila punt set the Colts up at midfield, Rivercrest wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. A face mask penalty against the Lions and a five yard run gave the Colts a first down at the Lion 39. Running back Demoine Brown bolted 33 yards down to the Lion six, and senior quarterback Josh Fleming found Jasper Jackson for a six yard touchdown strike with 7:19 left in the opening quarter. Fleming tacked on the point after to give Rivercrest a 7-0 lead.

On the Lion's next possession, Colt cornerback Tyler Russell picked off Manila quarterback Josh Miles at the Lion 46 yard line. Brown scooted 46 yards around right end on the next play for Rivercrest's second score of the night, and after Fleming added the point after, the Colts had a 14-0 lead at the 6:17 mark and the rout was on.

Rivercrest went on to score on their next five possessions, getting a 13 yard touchdown pass from Fleming to Brown at the 2:52 mark of the first quarter. The Colts closed out the opening period when Earl Byrd scored on a six yard run up the middle for a 28-0 Rivercrest lead.

Byrd rambled 45 yards for his second score of the game early in the second quarter to make the score 35-0 and Rivercrest went up 42-0 when T.J. Gordon intercepted a Miles pass and dashed 48 yards for a Colt touchdown. Rivercrest closed out the half when reserve running back John Woodson outraced the Lion defense for a 30 yard touchdown romp and a 49-0 halftime lead.

The Colts scored on their first possession of the second half when Woodson struck again, this time darting 47 yards to push the Rivercrest lead to 56-0 at the 5:50 mark of the third quarter.

Manila finally broke a three game scoring drought when former Colt John Willbanks raced 56 yards with 6:52 left in the game to cut the Rivercrest lead to 56-6. It was Manila's first score since a fourth quarter touchdown October 10th against Cave City.

"John really wanted that touchdown," said Doke. "He used to go to school at Rivercrest so that was a big thing for him. He is a hard nosed kid that's worked really hard all year. He deserved that touchdown. I was proud for him."

Rivercrest finished the night with 385 yards of total offense, including 310 on the ground. Woodson led the Colts with 97 yards on three carries with two touchdowns. Brown carried five times for 81 yards and a score while Byrd added 61 yards on four totes and two touchdowns. Terrence Banks picked up 44 yards on three rushes.

Fleming hit his last six passes to finish 6-8 through the air for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson caught two passes for 17 yards and a score while Gordon also caught two passes for 23 yards. Brown had one catch for 13 yards and a touchdown while J.T. Pierce snared one pass for 22 yards.

Manila finished the night with 82 yards on the ground and 155 yards of total offense. Willbanks led the Lions with 79 yards on eight carries and scored Manila's lone touchdown. Tracey Reinhart carried once for nine yards while Seth Towles rushed twice for three yards.

Miles connected on 5-18 passes for 73 yards and three interceptions. Steven Green topped all receivers with three catches for 48 yards. Willbanks caught one pass for 21 yards while Spencer Cain came up with one reception for four yards.

"I am really proud of the effort the kids gave the entire season," said Doke. "We are a very young team, and we will get better."

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