Romero's five touchdowns propel Melbourne past Manila 41-8
Dalton Romero had a banner night, scoring five touchdowns, to help power Melbourne to a convincing 41-8 3A-3 conference football victory over Manila Friday night at Lion Field. The 170 pound senior running back rushed for four scores and caught a touchdown pass in totaling 190 all purpose yards on the evening.
Quarterback Connor Fogle, threw for 180 yards and two scores, while racing for another 89 yards on the ground to support Romero's big night. Fogle set up the Bearkatz first score with a 32-yard strike to Jared Humphrey down to the Manila six yard line. Romero barreled into the end zone on the next play, and after Bryce Hutchins' successful point after, Melbourne had an early 7-0 lead.
Manila faced fourth and four from their 45 on their first possession. The Lions decided to gamble, going for the first down, but Luis Maldonado was stopped for no gain and the ball went over to the Bearkatz.
Melbourne struck again at the 2:50 mark of the first quarter on Romero's second score, a nine yard touchdown run. Hutchins' point after failed, leaving the Bearkatz ahead 13-0.
Melbourne put together a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive on its next possession, capped off by Fogle's nine yard touchdown pass to fullback Kenny Haney. Fogle ran in the two point conversion, giving the 'Katz a 21-0 lead with 10:13 left in the half.
Manila picked up a first down on their next possession, thanks to a 16-yard completion from Lion quarterback Kyle Joyner to Zac Dearing, but the Manila offense stalled, forcing a punt.
Melbourne scored just before the half on a two-yard touchdown plunge by Romero. Hutchens added the point after, giving the 'Katz a 28-0 halftime lead.
Melbourne scored on their first possession of the third quarter, when Fogle hooked up with Romero on a 27-yard touchdown pass at the 9:18 mark. The point after failed with the Bearkatz leading 34-0.
Melbourne held on defense and put together their final scoring drive of the night, beginning at their own 15 yard line following a 40-yard punt by Manila's Jake Helton. The Bearkatz put together a time consuming 13-play scoring march that took 5:30 off the clock. Romero's fifth touchdown of the night, a two-yard run with 1:12 left in the quarter, followed by Hutchens' extra point, gave Melbourne a 41-0 lead.
Manila finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter after recovering a Melbourne fumble at the Bearkatz 15 yard line. Joyner's one yard quarterback sneak with 5:45 left in the game, along with Tyler Johnson's two point conversion run, set the final score at 41-8.
The Bearkatz finished the night with an impressive 440 yards of total offense, including 260 on the ground. Romero led Melbourne with 136 yards rushing while catching three passes for 54. Fogle was nine for 16 passing and connected with six different Bearkatz receivers.
The Lions were held to just 90 yards total offense, including 28 rushing and 62 through the air. Maldonado was the leading rusher for the Lions with nine carries for 26 yards. Johnson rushed five times for 22 yards. Joyner completed six of 18 passes for 62 yards and an interception. Dearing snared two passes for 32 yards while Johnson had two catches for 13. Jake Helton caught one pass for 12 yards while Patrick Tanner had one reception for seven yards.
"We ran into a good football team tonight," said Lion Coach Jerry Castor. "They are a senior laden team and we had trouble tackling them. Their quarterback (Fogle), who has several scholarship offers, is a good player. He can throw the ball 60 yards; he's just a good athlete. We wanted to throw the ball tonight and we did okay, but we started having some pass protection problems. We'll just have to go back to work and correct that."
In junior high action, Manila suffered a tough 14-8 loss Thursday night at Melbourne. The Lions had trouble hanging onto the ball in the first half, losing four fumbles. A bad snap over the punter's head set up Melbourne's first touchdown of the night, as the Bearkatz took an 8-0 halftime lead.
Manila caught a couple of bad breaks. Kyle Bell's touchdown run late in the first half was called back because of a penalty. The Lions also had another run down to the Melbourne five yard line erased because of a flag.
Manila tied things up early in the third quarter on a Logan Hamilton touchdown, but Melbourne scored again and held the Lions out of the end zone the rest of the way to hand Manila their first conference loss of the season.
"It was a good ball game, but we didn't play very well," said Castor. "It was our first road trip of the year and it was a long trip. We struggled hanging onto the ball in the first half. It was one of those games where I thought we outplayed them but we didn't come away with the win."
The loss drops the Junior Lions to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in league play. Manila will travel to Cedar Ridge Thursday night for another conference matchup. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
The Senior Lions (0-4, 0-1 3A-3) will host Cedar Ridge at Lion Field in a 7 kickoff Friday night at Manila.