McCrory spoils Lion's season opener 51-26
McCrory's size and speed proved too much for Manila as the Jaguars used big plays to spoil the Lion's home opener under new head coach Jerry Castor, running away with a 51-26 victory Friday night before a large crowd at Lion Field.
McCrory, one of the top teams in Class 2A, led by a massive defensive line featuring senior Jemar Clark, a 6'6" 305 lb. defensive tackle who is being recruited by the University of Arkansas, stuffed the Lion's running attack most of the night. Clark had plenty of help up front, including 6'4" 290 lb. tackle James Myers along with linemen Shaun Danberry (6'1" 285 lbs.) and Colton Davis (6'0" 285 lbs.), who controlled the line of scrimmage, limiting Manila's wishbone offense.
The Jaguars struck early on a 30-yard end around touchdown run by junior running back Logan Best with 10:24 left in the first quarter. Cody Davis tacked on the point after attempt, giving McCrory a 7-0 lead.
Disaster struck on the ensuing kickoff when Manila's Dylan Bogle fumbled the return, giving the Jaguars excellent field position at the Lion 21 yard line. But McCrory quickly returned the favor when Manila's Justin Barley pounced on Jaguar quarterback Collin Campbell's fumble at the Manila 19 yard line.
The huge Jaguar defensive line stopped the Lions, forcing a punt that sailed over Shane Lee's head for a safety, giving McCrory a 9-0 lead with 5:26 left in the opening period.
The Jaguars returned Manila's free kick 45 yards, giving McCrory excellent field position at the Lion 31 yard line. Campbell quickly connected on a 10-yard pass to Davis for a first down at the Lion 21, and on the next play, Best spurted 21 yards around left end for another Jaguar score. Davis' point after put McCrory up 16-0 at the 4:40 mark of the first period.
After a three and out for Manila, the Lions were forced to punt and McCrory's Garrett Browning fielded Shane Lee's kick at the Lion 45 and raced untouched into the Manila end zone. Davis' third consecutive point after attempt gave McCrory a 23-0 bulge with 2:51 left in the first period.
Dylan Bogle fielded the McCrory kickoff at the 10 yard line and bolted straight up the middle of the field, racing 90 yards into the end zone for the first Lion score of the season, electrifying the Lion faithful. Manila's two point conversion attempt failed, leaving McCrory ahead 23-6 with 2:18 remaining in the quarter.
McCrory scored early in the second period after the Lion's botched their second punt snap of the night. Punting from deep in their own end of the field, Manila's snap again sailed over Lee's head for a safety, giving the Jaguars a 25-6 advantage with 9:47 left in the half.
McCrory took possession on Manila's free kick at the Lion 34 yard line and marched the distance in only four plays, capped off by Browning's seven yard touchdown run with 7:29 remaining in the opening half. Davis' point after attempt failed, leaving the Jaguars ahead 31-6.
Manila came right back on their next possession, scoring on a 44-yard touchdown dash by Bogle with 2:50 left in the half. The two point run conversion failed, leaving the Jaguars with a 31-12 lead.
McCrory answered again when Best darted 38 yards for his third score of the half at the 1:59 mark, giving the Jags a 37-12 lead with 1:59 before intermission.
The Lions fought back when quarterback Zach Reinhart hooked up with Lee for a 61-yard bomb with just 17 seconds to go before the end of the half. The two point conversion again failed, and McCrory held a 37-18 lead at halftime.
McCrory struck first in the second half when Campbell connected with wide receiver Dekoven Randolph on a 40 yard touchdown pass at the 8:04 mark. Davis' point after failed, and the Jaguars held a 43-18 advantage.
McCrory scored its last touchdown of the night on Browning's second 45-yard punt return for a touchdown with 5:42 left in the third quarter. Campbell's two point pass attempt was good, and the Jaguars had a 51-18 lead.
Manila would tack on one more score when Tucker Miller found pay dirt on a 12-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. The two point conversion was good, setting the final score at 51-26.
McCrory rolled up 194 yards on the ground on just 12 carries while Campbell was 4-5 through the air for 88 yards and a touchdown. The Jaguars finished with 282 yards of total offense on just 17 plays from scrimmage. Special teams accounted for two scores.
Best led the Jaguar rushing attack, carrying six times for 149 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half. Campbell rushed five times for 38 yards while Browning had one tote for seven yards and a score, while the junior wide receiver also had two punt returns for touchdowns, totaling 90 yards. Davis caught two receptions for 24 yards while Randolph hauled in two more for 64 yards and a score.
Bogle led Manila on the ground, carrying eight times for 59 yards and a touchdown while also returning a 90 yard kickoff for another score. Miller rushed six times for 43 yards and a touchdown. Reinhart toted the ball 13 times for 24 yards while Arturo Gonzalez had nine carries for 12 yards. Jay Kulin carried four times for 11 yards while Lane Cohn rushed once for 14 yards. Reinhart finished 1-1 for 61 yards and a touchdown through the air while Lee caught one pass for 61 yards and a score.
The Lions rushed 41 times for 163 yards and two touchdowns while passing for 61 yards and a score. Manila finished with 224 yards of total offense.
"We won't see a team as good as McCrory for a long time," said Castor. "They are big, fast, and are just a great team. I was proud of the fact we were able to score three touchdowns on them. We have got to tackle better and our snapper needs to improve. We also have to hold onto the ball. We had way too many turnovers. McCrory has five Division 1 players on their team. But playing a team as good as this will help us down the line. We are going through growing pains right now, putting in this new system. But I was very proud of our kids. They never gave up and played until the end. We will get better as the season goes on."