Lion cheerleaders and students prepare for the Lions to take the field prior to kickoff against Corning Friday night at Manila.
Russell Cox ran the opening kickoff back 85 yards for a touchdown to help spark Corning to a 36-6 victory over Manila in 3A-3 conference football action Friday night at Lion Field.
Cox, a 190-lb. junior speedster, also finished the night with 131 yards on 14 carries. Teammate Jordan Rainwater also had a big night for the Bobcats, rushing 13 times for 134 yards and two scores. Quarterback Korey Smith also accounted for two touchdowns, throwing for one and running for another. Smith finished with 144 yards passing while rushing for another 37 yards.
Cox began the game with an electrifying kickoff return to put the Bobcats on top. Daniel Crossen's two point conversion run gave Corning an early 8-0 lead. The Bobcats struck again with 8:19 left in the first half on Smith's 57-yard touchdown strike to Cox, pushing the lead to 16-0. Cox would finish the night with over 300 all-purpose yards.
The Lion cheerleaders entertained the crowd at halftime of the Corning-Manila senior high football game.
Reid Herrera took the ensuing kickoff for the Lions and raced 83 yards before being dragged down from behind at the Bobcat nine yard line. Dustin Sirmon barreled his way into the end zone from eight yards out to put Manila on the board at the 6:56 mark. The point after attempt was blocked, leaving Corning with a 16-6 advantage.
Corning came right back, scoring on its next drive, marching 75 yards in eight plays, capped off by Rainwater, who sprinted 20 yards around left end with 4:11 to go before half. Smith's two point conversion pass to Trevor Barajas was good, giving Corning a 24-6 lead.
Lion quarterback Zac Reinhart (2) runs the option play as pitch man Colby Williams (85) looks on.
The Bobcats would strike one more time before the half ended on a six yard dash by Rainwater. The touchdown was set up by Cox's 56-yard scamper. The two point conversion attempt failed, leaving Corning with a 30-6 halftime advantage.
The Bobcats added a final score late in the fourth quarter on an eight yard run by Smith.
The Lions were able to move the ball between the twenties, but saw their offense bog down in the red zone. Senior fullback Dustin Sirmon finished the night with 86 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown. Colby Williams had seven carries for 71 yards for a 10 yard average per carry. The Lions finished with 143 yards of total offense.
In addition to Herrera's 83 yard kickoff return, Caleb Reinhart also had a 55-yard return late in the fourth quarter.
Reid Herrera (20) breaks away for an 83 yard kickoff return Friday night against the Bobcats.
"We gave up four big plays in the first half that gave them touchdowns. Other than that, I thought it was a pretty even ballgame," said Lion Head Coach Jerry Castor. "I thought the kids played hard. Corning was bigger than we are and I thought they outmanned us a little bit. We moved the ball well but we had trouble in the red zone. We just couldn't seem to get their ends blocked so we could get wide. We ran the ball inside pretty good. Our offensive line played well. I thought Sirmon, our fullback, had a good game, but we just couldn't get the ball out on the edge enough. We played a very good team tonight, but it's time to move on and get ready to play Harrisburg next week."
Dustin Sirmon celebrates his eight yard touchdown run with teammate Kyle Joyner (11).
The Lions will travel to Harrisburg Friday night to take on the Hornets.