Harrisburg rallies late to clip Junior Lions, 14-8

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Harrisburg took advantage of a Manila turnover in the fourth quarter and punched in the winning touchdown with 5:46 left to steal a 14-8 victory away from the Lions Thursday night at Manila.

Manila defensive back Luis Maldanado wraps up Harrisburg running back Dylan Russell (5) Thursday night in junior high football action at Lion Field.

Manila held an 8-6 lead and had the ball at midfield when Harrisburg's Walker Hammond stripped the ball from Lion fullback Tyler Johnson and ran it back to the Manila 30 yard line. Hammond's fumble recovery helped atone for a sure touchdown pass the freshman dropped earlier in the third quarter. The Hornets drove for the winning score in just four plays, capped off by quarterback Conner Haag's six yard touchdown scamper with 5:46 left in the game. Dylan Russell's two point conversion run gave Harrisburg a six point lead.

The Lions had one last chance to pull out the victory after a short Hornet kickoff gave Manila the ball at their own 47 with 5:40 remaining. A 16-yard run by Timmy Smith, followed by a 13-yard romp from Hunter Bass, gave the Lions a first down at the Hornet 33. But a holding penalty and procedure penalty on consecutive downs put the Lions in a third and 29 hole. Two running plays left the Lions short of the needed first down, and Harrisburg ran out the final 1:07 to preserve the victory.

The Junior Lions listen as Head Coach Trent Floyd gives instructions during a time-out Thursday night at Manila.

Harrisburg scored first on a seven yard touchdown run by Haag with 5:21 left in the opening half. The two point conversion run failed.

The Lions answered immediately with a touchdown of their own when quarterback Luis Maldonado hooked up with Smith on a 32-yard touchdown pass with only 46 seconds left in the half, tying the game at 6-6. Johnson's two point conversion run up the middle gave Manila an 8-6 halftime lead.

"Our kids played hard and did everything we asked," said Lion Coach Trent Floyd. "It was a wet field and the ball just got swept out. It was an unfortunate turn of events. The kids responded to a challenge we gave them last week. They played extremely hard and laid it on the line tonight. I am very proud of our kids. It didn't work out tonight, but if we keep up that kind of effort, it will wind up paying off for us."

Manila outgained Harrisburg in total yards 171-110. The Lions finished the night with 139 yards on the ground and 32 through the air. Smith ran five times for 37 yards while Maldonado had seven carries for 31 yards. Johnson finished the night with seven rushes for 30 yards. Bass had three carries for 23 yards while Josh South rushed four times for 18 yards. Maldonado completed one of five passes for 32 yards and a touchdown. Smith caught one pass for 32 yards and a score.

Eighth grader Tyler Johnson (52) follows his blockers into the end zone in junior high football action Thursday night at Manila. The Lions lost 14-8 to Harrisburg.

Harrisburg had 101 yards rushing and 10 yards through the air. Haag had 14 carries for 60 yards and two touchdowns while Russell rushed nine times for 34 yards.

The Lions will travel to Hoxie Thursday night to take on the Mustangs.

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