Junior Lions gain first victory behind Hamilton's three touchdown performance

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Logan Hamilton (24) streaks toward the end zone for one of his three touchdowns as teammate Tyler Johnson (34) raises his arms signaling a Lion score. (Town Crier photos/Trent Fletcher)

Manila's Logan Hamilton exploded for three long touchdown runs and finished the night with 180 yards on the ground to lead the junior Lions to their first victory of the season, 30-14, over Piggott Thursday night at Manila.

Hamilton got the Lions on the scoreboard with 2:23 left in the first quarter on a 39-yard scamper. Tyler Johnson's two point conversion run gave Manila an early 8-0 lead.

Piggott came right back, marching 57 yards in seven plays, capped off by Bret Fuller's eight yard touchdown run with 4:38 left in the half. Justin Goding rambled in with the two point conversion to tie the score at 8-8.

Manila's junior Lions celebrate their 30-14 victory over Piggott.

Manila wasted little time taking the lead back. The Lions took the ensuing kickoff and returned it to their own 41 yard line. Hamilton took the handoff from quarterback Patrick Tanner, found daylight around left end and bolted 59 yards untouched into the end zone, outracing a pair of Piggott defenders to put Manila back on top with 4:27 to go before intermission. Tanner scored on the two point conversion to give Manila a 16-8 lead.

Hamilton struck pay dirt on the Lions first play from scrimmage beginning the third quarter. The fleet halfback found a crease on the left side of Manila's offensive line and darted 60 yards for his third touchdown of the night. Johnson barreled in with the two point conversion run and the Lions led 24-8 just 14 seconds into the third period.

The Mohawks came right back with a 60 yard touchdown march of their own to pull to within 24-14. Piggott quarterback Hayden Lemmons' 23 yard pass to Goding set up Fuller's 15 yard touchdown run at the 3:38 mark of the third quarter. Piggott's two point conversion attempt failed.

Piggott quarterback Hayden Lemmons (2) is pursued by Lion defenders Tyler Johnson (34), Josh Conlee (74) and Dalton Jones (50) in junior high football action Thursday night at Manila.

Manila put the game away with 3:34 left when Josh Waddell scored on a four yard run. The touchdown was set up when the Lions' Rodney Laster recovered a Fuller fumble at the Mohawk 27.

Hamilton led the Lions, rushing eight times for a whopping 22.5 yards per carry average. Waddell rushed five times for 44 yards. Johnson carried seven times for 24 yards while Bryce Carpenter rushed once for 23 yards. D.J. Myers carried two times for 10 yards. Tanner completed one of two passes for 15 yards with one interception. Waddell had one reception for 15 yards. The Lions finished the night with 293 yards of total offense, including 278 on the ground.

The Lion defense held Piggott to 130 yards total offense. Goding led the Mohawks with nine carries for 57 yards while Fuller rushed four times for 19. Lemmons completed two of three passes for 31 yards.

"Logan really played a great game tonight," said Manila Coach Jordan Wise. "Our offensive line opened up some big holes for him. Everybody did what they were supposed to do tonight. Our defense played an incredible game with great effort on every play. It feels great to get this first win. Hopefully this is the start of many more."

The Lions (1-2, 1-0 3A-3) will play host to Corning Thursday night in another conference tilt. Kickoff is set for 7:00.

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