Special team woes led to four turnovers, helping Westside race to a convincing 47-12 victory over Manila in senior high football action Friday night in Jonesboro.
Things started badly on the Lion's first possession, when quarterback Josh Miles was intercepted by Westside's Jordan Doss at the Manila 38 yard line. It took the Warriors just four plays to score the game's first touchdown as Tyler Lloyd ran in from four yards out at the 9:20 mark of the opening quarter. Tyler Hibbs scored on a two point conversion run, and the Warriors held an 8-0 lead.
Each team swapped punts on their next possessions, but with 3:02 left in the opening period, Westside blocked a Lion punt and the Warriors' Jesse Owens recovered the ball in the end zone for a 14-0 lead.
Westside stretched their advantage to 20-0 on a 15-yard touchdown dash by quarterback Byron Jackson with 1:11 to go in the first quarter. The touchdown was set up when the Warriors recovered a fumbled kickoff by Manila following Westside's second score.
Manila's turnovers continued when Jackson picked off a Miles lateral attempt and darted 50 yards for another Warrior touchdown with 10:17 left in the half, giving Westside a 26-0 lead.
Manila's Dillon Burrow picked off a Jackson pass midway through the quarter, but lost the handle on the ball during the return, giving possession back to the Warriors on the Lion 38 yard line. Hibbs carried five straight times, capping off the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run that pushed the Warrior lead to 32-0.
The Lions finally got on the board with an impressive, 11-play, 69-yard drive, culminated by Miles' 13-yard touchdown strike to J.J. Helton which cut the Warrior lead to 32-6 at the half.
Westside opened the second half with a seven play, 57-yard touchdown drive, topped off by Jackson's seven yard touchdown run. The two point conversion run by Collyn Harlan gave the Warriors a 40-6 lead.
Things got worse for the Lions on the ensuing kickoff, when Harlan scooped up Zach Birmingham's kickoff and ran untouched into the end zone for another Warrior score. Will Craft kicked the point after to stretch the lead to 47-6.
Manila scored the game's final touchdown when Brian Borden sprinted 70 yards on the Westside kickoff, setting the final score at 47-12.
"We really needed that after what happened last week. The good start we got off to was the key to the game. It opened up everything for us. Everything just really clicked tonight," said Westside Coach Scott Morgan, whose team moved to 1-1 on the season.
"It was difficult for us to come back after Westside took control of the game early," said Manila Coach Toby Doke. "They set the tempo and hit us in the mouth. I think they wore us out up front on the offensive line, knocking us off the ball. We didn't contain very well, and when you don't do that you don't have much of a chance. I thought we threw the ball a little better in the second half, and hopefully we will build on that going into next week's game against McCrory."
Shawn McCallie led Manila with 26 yards on three carries while Dillon Burrow picked up 25 yards on nine totes. The Lions, who finished with 69 yards rushing on the night, also got 13 yards on five carries from John Wilbanks, four yards on one carry by Brian Borden while John Jones carried one time for two yards.
Mile completed 10-21 passes for 101 yards and one touchdown. Burrow hit two of three passes for 56 yards, as the Lions finished with 157 yards through the air and 226 yards of total offense. Borden led Manila in receiving with four catches for 65 yards. Helton caught three balls for 56 yards and a touchdown while Burrow also snared three receptions for 29 yards. Spencer Cain caught one pass for six yards while Willbanks finished with one catch for one yard.
Westside finished the night with 157 yards on the ground and 170 yards of total offense.
Manila outgained Westside by 56 yards but lost the turnover battle with six compared to the Warrior's one.
Manila will play its home opener Friday night against McCrory. Kickoff is set for 7:30.