Zach Davis put on a first half aerial show that most quarterbacks only dream of, throwing for 455 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Hornets to a convincing 55-14 homecoming victory over Manila Friday night at Harrisburg.
Manila finished the first half with 275 yards of total offense of their own, including 152 yards on the ground to go along with 123 more through the air, but couldn't keep up with the high scoring Hornets, who improved to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in 3A-3 conference play.
Manila drops to 1-4 and 0-2 in league play with the loss.
Manila answered with a seven play, 57-yard touchdown drive to cut the Hornet lead to
8-6 on a three yard touchdown run by John Wilbanks at the 5:24 mark. The big play of the drive came when quarterback Josh Miles fired a 22-yard pass to Tracey Reinhart, who made a spectacular diving catch, setting up the Lion's score. The two point conversion attempt failed.
(Town Crier photos/Trent Fletcher)
Brian Borden gave the Lion's excellent field position when he returned the Hornet kickoff 30 yards to the Manila 47 yard line. Steven Green added a 15-yard run, setting up a first down at the Harrisburg 37, but on the next play, the Hornets recovered a Manila fumble to thwart the Lion threat.
Harrisburg struck again with only 39 seconds left in first period when Davis completed a 38 yard touchdown strike to Turner Norsworthy, who caught six passes for 170 yards. Davis hit Combs for the two-point conversion pass, giving the Hornets a 24-6 lead.
Harrisburg continued to pile up the points on their next drive when Pretty bolted 27 yards with 8:31 left in the first half. Davis hooked up with Combs once again for the two-point conversion play and a 32-6 Hornet lead.
After a Manila three and out, the Hornets scored again when Davis found Combs in the back of the end zone from nine yards out at the 7:03 mark, making the score 38-6. The touchdown was set up on a 45-yard pass from Davis to Josh Fallon, who had two receptions for 56 yards on the night.
Manila came right back with a touchdown of their own, thanks mainly to the running of John Wilbanks. The senior running back scored from four yards out and also had a 42 yard run on the Lion's 68 yard touchdown march. Willbanks ran in the two point conversion to cut the Hornet lead to 38-14.
Harrisburg scored 17 points in the final 3:38 of the first half. Davis found Norsworthy streaking down the right sideline for a 59-yard touchdown, and after a Miles' interception, Davis struck again, hooking up with Streeter from 33 yards out. The Hornets finished their scoring onslaught when Streeter connected on a 28 yard field goal with 50 seconds remaining in the opening half.
Neither team found the end zone in the second half, as the clock ran courtesy of the mercy rule.
Manila was its own worst enemy, turning the ball over five times in the first half, spoiling their best offensive effort of the season. Wilbanks rushed 15 times for 109 yards, with 88 coming in the opening half. The slender senior accounted for both Lion scores and became Manila's first 100 yard rusher of the season. Green picked up 45 yards on five carries in the first half and completed the night with 70 yards. Miles finished 12-24 for 163 yards through the air, but was picked off twice. Green led Manila in receiving with three receptions for 70 yards, including a 42-yarder on a screen pass from Miles.
"I thought our kids competed hard and never quit," said Manila Coach Toby Doke. "We ran up against a quarterback who is probably the best I've ever seen in high school. He always puts the ball on the money and Harrisburg is a very explosive offense. We just gave up too many big plays. I thought we played a pretty good first quarter. We had one of our best rushing nights of the year. Wilbanks had kind of gotten lost in our offense, but really came through tonight. I also thought Josh Miles managed the game very well. We've scored 11 touchdowns this season so far, where last year we only scored three all year, so we're making a lot of improvement offensively. We've just got to get better on the defensive side of the football. Overall, I was proud of the kids' effort."
Manila travels to Cave City Friday night for another 3A-3 conference battle.