It all came down to one play in Thursday night's 3A-3 junior high contest between Piggott and Manila. Unfortunately for the Lions, the big play went the Mohawk's way when tailback Cody Mantz splashed through the mud for a 58-yard touchdown run with 1:00 left in the third quarter for the game's only score. Mantz tacked on the two point conversion for good measure, giving Piggott all the points they would need in an 8-0 defeat of Manila.
Rain came down throughout Thursday night's game at Piggott, at times in sheets, as both teams sloshed through the mud and water struggling to keep possession of the slippery pigskin.
"It was a tough night for both teams, with the conditions being as they were," said Manila Coach Jason Durham. "We made a lot of mistakes mentally on both offense and defense, which really cost us. We would get something going and then stop ourselves. It came down to that one big play when our linebacker slipped down in the mud, allowing their running back to score. It's been that kind of season for us. We could easily be 4-2-1 instead of the other way around. But that falls back on us as coaches and players. We just haven't made the big plays when we needed to. But we're getting better as the program goes along, and we'll get there."
Piggott threatened to score on their first possession, driving 50 yards to the Lion 10 yard line before Manila's defense stiffened, stopping the Mohawks on a fourth and five play.
Piggott had another opportunity to score on their second possession, but Jordan Brewer recovered a Mohawk fumble at the Lion 15 to thwart the drive.
Manila drove into Piggott territory on their next possession, thanks to a 38-yard run by Brewer with 1:37 left in the first half. The Lions faced a third and six with nine seconds remaining in the half when Sam Hubbard attempted a deep pass to Dylan Bogle, but the Mohawk's intercepted. Bogle ran down the Piggott defender, saving a touchdown as the half ended in a scoreless tie.
Mantz's touchdown run in the driving rain at the 1:00 mark of the third period proved to be all the points Piggott would need.
The game ended when Hubbard was stopped on fourth down at the Lion 21 yard line.
Mantz led the Mohawks with 104 yards on 10 carries. Younger brother Parrish Mantz picked up 26 yards on just five carries. Kain Haywood carried eight times for 28 yards. The Mohawks did not attempt a pass on the night and finished with 147 yards of total offense on 26 plays.
The Lions also ran 26 plays and finished with 123 yards of total offense. Brewer led Manila with 11 carries for 89 yards while Bogle rushed four times for 29 yards. Hubbard had seven carries for five yards and went zero for three through the air with one interception.
Manila will close out the season on the road as they travel to Wilson to take on Rivercrest in a 7:00 kickoff Thursday night.