Hamilton's big night leads Lions to season opening victory over Bearcats
Freshman running back Logan Hamilton galloped for 183 yards and scored three touchdowns to power Manila to a 40-28 season opening victory over Brookland in junior high football action Thursday night at Lion Field.
It was Brookland, however, that took an early 8-0 lead, thanks to a fumble recovery on the opening kickoff at the Lion 32 yard line. Bearcat quarterback Reid Lane found a crease in the Manila line and raced the distance for the game's first score. Lane added the two point conversion run just 45 seconds into the game.
Manila answered quickly on its first drive, going 56 yards in only five plays. Hamilton, who began the drive with a 24 yard scamper, scored from four yards out with 5:03 left in the quarter. Hamilton bulled his way in for the two point conversion to tie the score 8-8.
On their next possession, Brookland faced fourth and six at their own 40 yard line. Bearcat Coach Bryan Shelton rolled the dice, electing to go for it on fourth down. But the Lion defense rose to the occasion, stuffing Lane for just a yard gain, and Manila took over at the Brookland 41.
It took just three plays for the Lions to score the go-ahead touchdown. Kris Kerley bolted 19 yards with 20 seconds left in the quarter to put Manila on top. Hamilton barreled in for the two point conversion, and the Lions had a 16-8 lead.
After the ensuing kickoff, Brookland found itself in another fourth down situation deep in its own territory. Once more, the Bearcats elected to gamble, and again, the Lion defense threw up a brick wall, stopping Brookland running back Dallas Whitaker short of the first down marker.
Taking over at the Bearcat 30 yard line, the Lions scored in just three plays, the touchdown coming on a five yard scamper by Kerley with 5:16 left in the half. Hamilton's 19 yard run set up the Manila score. Aaron Carter fought his way into the end zone for the two point conversion, giving Manila a 24-8 lead.
But the Bearcats came right back and pulled to within 24-14 on a 10-yard rushing touchdown by Lane at the 2:28 mark. The two point conversion try failed.
Kyle Bell took the Bearcat kickoff and raced 20 yards to give Manila excellent field position at its own 48. Hamilton exploded through the Brookland line and dashed 52 yards for the touchdown with 2:09 left in the half. Hamilton tacked on the two point conversion and Manila had a seemingly safe 32-14 lead.
Whitaker almost scored for the Bearcats on the last play of the second quarter, darting 46 yards before being run down from behind at the Lion 12 yard line as the half ended with Manila ahead by 18 points.
Brookland took the second half kickoff and put together an eight play-59-yard scoring drive. Chris Pittman's four yard touchdown run with 5:14 left in the third quarter, along with Whitaker's two point conversion run, sliced the Lion lead to 32-22.
Manila drove into Brookland territory on its next possession, thanks to a 21-yard dash by Hamilton. But a turnover thwarted the drive, giving the Bearcats the ball back with 1:30 left in the quarter. On the first play of the final period, Lane found daylight, squirted through a hole and raced 41 yards for a Brookland score. The two point play failed, leaving Manila with a slim 32-28 advantage.
The Lions put the game away at the 6:09 mark when Hamilton scored on an 18 yard run. Bell's two point conversion was good, sealing Manila's 40-28 victory.
"I thought our offensive line did an outstanding job tonight," said Lion Head Coach Jerry Castor. "They controlled the line of scrimmage and opened up some big holes. Logan Hamilton had a great night running the ball. We need to work on our tackling on defense, but overall, I am very pleased with our effort and the win."
Manila finished with 265 yards total offense, all on the ground. Kerley ran three times for 27 yards and two scores, Bell had two carries for 20 yards while Carter and quarterback Lane Sims both gained 17 yards each.
Lane had a big night for the Bearcats with 17 carries for 205 yards and three touchdowns. Whitaker picked up 120 yards on 13 carries as Brookland finished with 345 yards of total offense.
Manila will return to action Thursday night, playing host to Trumann. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Lion Field.