Wildcats claw past Lions 24-6
Trumann used a strong second half to break open a close game and pull away for a 24-6 victory over Manila in junior high football action Thursday night at Wildcat Field.
The Wildcats got on the scoreboard first with an eight yard touchdown run by Willie Moore with 1:49 left in the opening quarter. Moore tacked on the two point conversion run, giving Trumann an 8-0 lead.
Trumann turnovers cost the Wildcats several scoring opportunities, including its last possession of the half when Moore's pitch, intended for Lorenzo Buchanan, went awry and was recovered by Manila's Caleb Reinhart near midfield with just 20 seconds remaining before intermission. Manila quarterback Kyle Joyner hooked up with Reinhart on a six yard pass, but the clock expired, leaving Trumann with the 8-0 advantage at intermission.
Misfortune struck Manila early in the contest, when the Lion's lost lineman Zach Chamberlain, a 6'3" 260 lb. freshman to what appeared to be an ankle injury. Chamberlain was helped from the field and would not return the rest of the game. "I am not trying to make excuses, but losing Chamberlain really hurt us," said Lion Coach Jerry Castor. "He is our best lineman and we had to insert an eighth grader who doesn't have quite the experience of Chamberlain."
Manila closed the gap in the third period when Joyner scored on a one yard quarterback sneak at the 2:03 mark. The Lions began their touchdown drive after Jeremy Wilbanks recovered a fumble by Trumann running back Grayson Dye at the Wildcat 31 yard line. The Lions marched the 31 yards in just four plays, but the two point conversion attempt failed, leaving Manila with a two point deficit,
Trumann took the ensuing kickoff at their own 27 yard line and put together a time consuming nine play, 73 yard drive, capped off by a three yard touchdown run by fullback Justin Liles with 6:02 left in the final period. Dye's two point conversion run gave the Wildcats a 16-6 lead.
Manila got excellent field position at their own 39 yard line following the Trumann kickoff. But with time running down, the Wildcat defense stiffened, forcing Manila to gamble on fourth and seven and the Lions came up short, giving Trumann the ball back at Manila's 42 yard line with only 3:47 left in the game.
The Wildcats quickly put together a five play scoring drive, ending with Cain White's one yard touchdown plunge with only 1:45 remaining. Dye's two point conversion attempt set the final score at 24-6.
Trumann finished with 289 yards of total offense on 34 plays but hurt their own cause with five turnovers in the game. Moore gained 80 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown while Liles also had 11 totes for 76 yards and a score. Dye led all Trumann rushers with 85 yards on eight carries. Buchanan carried four times for 47 yards while White had one rush for one yard and a touchdown.
Manila had 30 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown. The Lions had six yards passing and finished the night with 81 yards of total offense. Alldonn Skelton led the Lions with 59 yards on eight carries while Joyner had 12 carries for 20 yards and a touchdown. Fullback Dustin LaRue rushed three times for seven yards. Joyner was 1-1 through the air for six yards while Reinhart caught one pass for six yards.
"I thought we played a real good game," said Castor. "We just need to work on our mistakes. We are going to have to work through this new system. I thought Joyner played well once he got into the flow of the game. As we play more, we will get better with our offense. I also thought Reinhart and Caleb Milligan played good games tonight. Skelton was playing very well until the heat got to him. I thought our team gave as much as they could. The biggest thing is we must improve in our offensive and defensive line play, but overall I was pleased with our performance."