Manila breaks winless drought - defeats Cedar Ridge 16-6
Luis Maldonado took the second half kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to spark Manila to its first victory since the 2012 season as the Lions defeated Cedar Ridge 16-6 Friday night at Lion Field.
Manila (1-4, 1-1 3A-3) took an 8-0 lead midway through the second quarter on Tyler Johnson's five yard touchdown run. Lion quarterback Kyle Joyner hooked up with Johnson for the two point conversion pass with 5:35 left in the first half.
Neither team threatened to score in the first quarter before the Lions took possession near midfield to begin the second period of play. A pair of Joyner runs produced 11 yards to set up a second down at the Timberwolves 37 yard line. Manila's Jake Helton broke free and rambled 35 yards down to the Cedar Ridge two before being stripped of the ball, which was recovered by the Timberwolves, ending the Lion's scoring threat.
Manila's defense kept Cedar Ridge bottled up, forcing a punt which was fielded at the Timberwolves 37 yard line. It took the Lions just six plays to take the lead on Johnson's scoring run.
Cedar Ridge put together a late first half drive down to the Manila 36 yard line, but the Lion defense stiffened, stopping the Timberwolves on fourth down as the half came to an end with Manila on top 8-0.
Cedar Ridge threatened to score after Maldonado's touchdown, putting together an 11-play, 50 yard drive that reached the Lion 22 yard line late in the third quarter. But Cedar Ridge quarterback Brandon Bennett fumbled on fourth down, turning the ball over to the Lions.
The Timberwolves penetrated Lion territory to start the fourth quarter, driving 50 yards in 11 plays, scoring on a three yard run by Bennett with 7:22 left in the game. Nick Stiles picked off the two point conversion pass, leaving Manila with a 16-6 lead.
The Lions ran out the clock behind the running of Maldonado and Joyner as Manila celebrated their first victory of the season.
The Lions finished the night with 207 yards of total offense, including 186 on the ground. Maldonado was Manila's leading rusher, carrying 11 times for 61 yards. Helton rushed three times for 57, Joyner had eight carries for 42, Johnson had six totes for 13 yards and a touchdown while Stiles carried five times for 13 yards. Joyner completed two of five passes for 21 yards, both to Johnson.
Cedar Ridge, who had 18 more offensive plays than the Lions, finished the night with 164 total yards, 150 coming on the ground. Jordan Bumpous led the Timberwolves in rushing with 17 carries for 87 yards. Zach Powell had seven rushes for 24 yards while Bennett finished with nine carries for 11 yards and a touchdown. Bennett threw six passes, completing two for 14 yards.
"The kids had a great week of preparation," said Lion Coach Jerry Castor. "We thought we had the better team coming in tonight, and I think we did. We missed some opportunities tonight to put the game away earlier, but we're getting better. Luis Maldonado's kickoff return gave us a huge lift. This was a big win for our program. The kids really needed it. They have worked really hard for it. They are starting to believe in themselves a little more. I'm very proud of them."
Manila will return to action Friday night when they travel to Osceola to take on the Seminoles in a 3A-3 conference matchup.