Williams sparks Lions to first victory of season
Senior Colbey Williams scored two touchdowns, including one on a 75-yard punt return to spark the Lions to a 20-13 victory over Piggott Friday night at Manila. The Lions rolled up a season high 249 yards of total offense in gaining their first victory of the year.
Manila (1-3, 1-0 3A-3) got on the board first, driving 28 yards in five plays, capped off by Dustin Sirmon's two-yard touchdown plunge at the 4:01 mark of the opening period. Dylan Bogle's point after gave the Lions a 7-0 lead. Quarterback Zach Reinhart's 14-yard pass to Dylan Brooks sparked the drive. The Lion defense set up Manila's first touchdown, stopping Piggott, who gambled on fourth and two deep in their own territory.
The Lion defense came up big again, forcing a Mohawk punt on the next series, which Williams fielded at his own 25. The swift senior darted through the heart of the Mohawk defenders and skirted 75 yards to pay dirt with 1:45 left in the quarter. Bogle added the point after for a 14-0 Lion advantage.
Piggott took the ensuing kickoff and marched down the field to the Manila 23 where the Lion defense stiffened, forcing an incompletion by Mohawk quarterback Logan Murray on a fourth down play.
The Lions took over and drove 77 yards in 10 plays, scoring on Williams' 22-yard scamper off an option pitch from Reinhart with 4:21 left in the half, giving Manila a 20-0 lead. The point after attempt failed.
Piggott finally got on the board, going 69 yards on its next possession. Logan Murray found Lucas Brewer for 30 yards, setting up a first down at the Lion 32. Murray hooked up with Brewer again three plays later for an 18 yard gain, down to the Manila one. Fullback Nic Haywood blasted into the end zone for the score. The point after attempt failed, leaving the Lions with a 20-6 halftime lead.
After a scoreless third quarter, Piggott got things going offensively when Logan Murray hooked up with brother Austin Murray on a 43-yard pass play. The big gainer gave the Mohawks a first down at the Lion 23 with less than 7:00 left in the game. Logan Murray scrambled 11 yards for a Piggott first down. Two plays later, Haywood barged in from four yards out at the 6:21 mark. Cody Mantz added the point after to cut the Lion lead to 20-13.
The Mohawk defense stopped Manila with a three and out on the Lions' next possession. Piggott blocked Kyle Joyner's punt, which was recovered by the Mohawks at the Manila 48 yard line with 3:44 left in the game. But the Lion defense rose to the occasion, stopping the visitors on four downs to take over at midfield with 2:19 to go.
The Lions ran the clock down to 1:30 before a punt gave the ball back to Piggott at their own 21 with 1:26 left. Piggott's last gasp ended when Logan Murray's seven yard completion to Austin Murray ended short of a first down, giving Manila the ball back with 23 seconds left. Manila went into its victory formation, and when Zach Reinhart took a knee, the clock ticked down to zero, giving the Lions their first victory of the season.
"It was our first conference win and our first win in a long time. It really feels good," said an elated Manila Head Coach Jerry Castor. "We talked to the kids about having the bad taste of losing in their mouths, and they got that taste out of their mouths tonight. The kids played with a lot of enthusiasm tonight and they played hard. They played like they are supposed to play. Colby Williams had a big night tonight. I thought his punt return was a big key to the win. These kids are improving every game and getting better, and that's what you want to see happen as a coach."
Piggott finished the night with 268 yards total offense, which included 136 on the ground and 132 through the air. Austin Murray led the Mohawks in rushing with 10 carries for 52 yards while Haywood had 11 totes for 49 yards and two scores. Logan Murray rushed nine times for 24 yards. Murray also completed nine of 24 passes for 132 yards. Austin Murray caught five passes for 69 yards while Lucas Brewer snared four receptions for 63 yards.
Manila had 225 yards on the ground, led by Williams who had 10 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown, for a whopping 10 yards per carry average. Sirmon rushed 12 times for 33 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Joyner had 10 carries for 28 yards. Zach Reinhart rushed six times for 24 yards. Chase Thrasher had four carries for 24 yards. Zach Reinhart completed two of six passes for 26 yards with one interception. Dylan Brooks had one catch for 14 yards while Sirmon snared one pass for 12 yards.
The Lions will be back in action Friday night at home against conference rival Corning, who pulled off the upset of the week, stunning Earle 48-28.