Lions mercy rule Bobcats 41-0

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Manila put together what may have been their most complete performance since starting football three years ago, demolishing the Corning Bobcats 41-0 in a 3A-3 conference victory Friday night on the road.

The first half was a slugfest with Manila landing the only two power punches, taking a 12-0 lead into the dressing room at intermission. The Lions opened the game, striking quickly on their very first possession. Quarterback Dillon Burrow hooked up with senior wide receiver Spencer Cain for a 68-yard touchdown pass only 58 seconds into the game. The two point conversion attempt failed, leaving Manila with a 6-0 lead.

Manila's Spencer Cain (88) outruns Ben Williams (85) of Corning for the Lion's first touchdown Friday night in senior high football action.

The Bobcats had a chance to take the lead when Brandon Taylor broke through the middle of the Manila line, blocking Lance Kilbreath's punt and setting up a first down at the Manila seven yard line.

The Lion defense came up big, however, stopping the Bobcats on four downs, regaining possession at their own three yard line to begin the second quarter.

The two teams traded blows the rest of the half, until the Lions struck again on a 45-yard touchdown sprint by senior John Wilbanks with just 2:16 left before intermission. The two point conversion attempt failed, as Manila took a 12-0 lead into halftime.

The Lions prepare to take the field prior to Friday night's senior high football game at Corning. (Town Crier photos/Trent Fletcher)

The turning point of the game came midway through the third quarter when sophomore Shane Lee pounced on a Chris Dunn fumble deep in Bobcat territory at the Corning 11 yard line. Josh Miles found Cain for a six yard scoring strike on a third and five play with 4:34 left in the third period. Miles hooked up with Cain again for the two point conversion, giving Manila a 20-0 lead and taking the wind out of the Bobcat's sails.

Senior running back Steven Green erased any doubts of a Corning comeback with three straight touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to salt the game away. Green, who missed the first part of the season due to an injury, started his scoring explosion with a 41-yard touchdown romp on the second play of the fourth quarter, giving Manila a 26-0 lead.

Brian Borden picked off a pass by Corning quarterback Gage Arnold, setting up the Lion's at the Bobcat 46 yard line. Green raced untouched around right end on Manila's first play from scrimmage, and following Miles' two-point conversion pass to Cain, the Lions upped their lead to 34-0 at the 8:51 mark.

The Lion defense stopped the Bobcats on Corning's next possession with a three and out. Following a five yard penalty against the Bobcats, Green dashed 45 yards into the end zone, giving Manila a 40-0 advantage. Zach Birmingham's point after pushed the lead to 41-0, invoking the mercy rule which Manila had been on the wrong end of several times this season.

"It was nice to be on the winning side of one of these games," said Lion Coach Toby Doke. "I know how Corning feels. We've been there before. They are struggling right now, but I thought our kids played an outstanding game both offensively and defensively. I am very proud of them for their effort tonight."

"This gives us momentum going into our game with Piggott next week. That will be a big game, one that I think we have a good chance to win if we play well. We really need to have a big crowd Friday night to support the kids. I want to encourage everyone to come out wearing their black and gold and being as loud as they can this Friday night. We really appreciate our fan support and will need every one of them this Friday to help us beat Piggott," said Doke.

The Lions rolled up 387 yards of total offense in what was a balanced attack. Manila ran 50 plays, 25 rushing and 25 passing. The Lions finished with 220 yards on the ground and four touchdowns, while gaining 167 yards through the air with two scores.

Green had his biggest night of the year, rushing nine times for 154 yards and three touchdowns. Wilbanks finished with five carries for 51 yards and a touchdown. Burrow rushed three times for 11 yards, Jay Kulin had one carry for eight yards while Borden toted the ball five times for two yards.

Miles completed seven of 21 passes for 99 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions while Burrow connected on one of two passes for 68 yards and a score. Cain led Manila in receiving with three catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns to go along with a pair of two point conversion receptions. J.J. Helton snared two balls for 44 yards, Wilbanks caught one pass for 30 while Borden had one reception for six yards.

Corning ran 57 plays but picked up just 145 yards of total offense. Chris Dunn led Corning in rushing with 25 carries for 51 yards, but lost two fumbles. Blake Carter rushed 15 times for 42 yards while Arnold had 10 carries for 41 yards. Arnold was just one of seven passing for 11 yards and two interceptions. Carter caught Corning's only pass for 11 yards. The Bobcats lost four turnovers on the night.

Manila will finish the season with back to back home games, starting with Piggott Friday night.

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