Hornets rally in second half for 30-16 win over Manila
Harrisburg remained undefeated, rallying from an 8-6 halftime deficit to defeat Manila 30-16 Friday night at Lion Field. The Hornets (3-0, 1-0 3A-3) overcame four turnovers, three in the first half to pull out the win. Harrisburg also got help when Manila had two touchdown passes called back by penalties. Manila (1-3, 0-1 3A-3) got on the board first with a 10-play 58 yard touchdown drive, capped off by Dylan Bogle's one yard touchdown run on a perfectly executed option pitch from quarterback Zach Reinhart. Reinhart's two point conversion pass to Shane Lee gave the Lions an 8-0 lead with 3:42 left in the opening quarter.
Manila gambled and came away with an onside kick recovery at the Harrisburg 42 yard line, giving the Lions excellent field position. But the Hornet defense stiffened, forcing a Lion punt to thwart the Manila scoring opportunity.
Harrisburg immediately took advantage when quarterback Marcus Smith connected on a 38-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Meredith. Downs bolted 46 yards to the Manila eight yard line, setting up a first and goal late in the first period. Devon Jarrett covered the final eight yards for Harrisburg's first score of the night. The two point conversion attempt failed, leaving Manila with an 8-6 lead at the half.
Manila looked to have struck again for a second touchdown when Reinhart hooked up with Lee on a 35-yard touchdown strike, but Lee was flagged for offensive pass interference, nullifying the score. The Lion drive ended with another punt. The scoring opportunity was set up when Trey Walker pounced on Harrisburg quarterback Marcus Smith's fumble at the Hornet 38 yard line.
The Lions received another break after Harrisburg had driven to the Manila two yard line. Dylan Bogle grabbed a fumble by Hornet running back Preston Downs to stop the Hornet threat. Harrisburg fumbled on its third consecutive possession, this time at the Lion 44 yard line, but the Harrisburg defense again forced a Lion punt.
Harrisburg began the second half with its fourth fumble of the game when Downs lost the ball at the Hornet 28. The fumble was recovered by Bogle, his second of the night. Facing fourth and eight from the Harrisburg 13 yard line, Reinhart found Lee in the end zone for an apparent score, but again Manila was flagged, this time for a procedure penalty that nullified the score. The Hornet defense sacked Reinhart on fourth down, and Harrisburg took over at its own 21 yard line.
The Hornets followed with a 12-play, 79 yard scoring drive. Smith finished off the Hornet touchdown march, rambling in from five yards out to give Harrisburg a 12-8 lead. Smith's two point conversion pass was good and the Hornets led 14-8 after three quarters.
Following a Manila fumble at the Hornet 48, Downs took a pitch from Smith and bolted 52 yards down the left sideline for a quick Hornet score. Smith's two point conversion run gave Harrisburg a 22-8 lead.
Wesley Creasey scampered 35 yards on Harrisburg's next possession for the Hornet's fourth touchdown of the night. Jarrett's two point conversion run gave Harrisburg a 30-8 lead.
Jay Kulin scored from five yards out with seven seconds left in the game, and Tucker Miller's two point conversion run set the final score at 30-16.
Downs led all rushers with 11 carries for 137 yards. Smith carried 12 times for 89 yards while Creasey finished with four rushes for 47 yards. The Hornets completed the night with 283 yards on the ground while Smith connected on seven of 14 passes for 128 yards. Meredith caught four receptions for 107 yards to lead all receivers. Harrisburg had 411 yards of total offense on the night.
Miller led the Lions in rushing, carrying 16 times for 86 yards while Kulin came off the bench to rush three times for 28 yards and a touchdown. Bogle rushed 16 times for 21 yards and a score. The Lions had 139 yards on the ground while Reinhart completed two of six passes for 42 yards through the air. Lee caught one pass for 14 yards while Colbey Williams snared another for 28 yards.
"The two touchdowns we had called back really hurt us tonight," said Lion coach Jerry Castor. "We got called for pass interference on one and procedure on another. I didn't see either one of them. I was disappointed in the small mistakes we made tonight. We had several turnovers and eight or nine offside penalties. Those things really hurt you. We can't make those type mistakes and win big games. We have to get better on the little things."
In junior high action, Manila dropped a 38-20 decision to Bald Knob Thursday night.
The junior Lions will host Rivercrest Thursday night while the senior high will travel to Bald Knob Friday night.