Brookland scores late to stun Lions 22-18

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Manila defensive back Jacob McCullom pursues Brookland running back Chase Dalton in junior high football action Thursday night at Manila. (Town Crier photos/Trent Fletcher)

Chris Pittman scored on a four yard run with just seven ticks left on the clock helping Brookland stun Manila 22-18 in the junior high football opener for both schools Thursday night at Lion Field.

The Bearcats led most of the evening before Manila quarterback Lane Sims scooted into the end zone with 3:38 to go putting the Lions ahead for the only time in the contest 18-14. Brookland gained excellent field position on the ensuing possession at the Manila 45 yard line and quickly drove down the field securing the victory on Pittman's touchdown romp in the waning moments.

Brookland hit pay dirt first when Bearcat signal caller Luke Hillis hooked up with running back Ethan Barkley on a 10-yard scoring pass at the 1:44 mark of the first quarter. Hillis scooted in for the two point conversion giving the 'Cats an 8-0 advantage. The score was set up after a bad snap on a Lion punt attempt which gave Brookland superb field position at the Lion 32.

Lion wide receiver Grant Salzer looks for running room as Manila's offensive linemen open holes in junior high football action against Brookland.

The Bearcats upped their lead to 14-0 when Hillis fired a 20-yard td strike to Zach Murphy with three minutes left before half. Another bad snap followed by a short punt set up the 'Cats at the Lion 20 leading to Brookland's second score of the night.

Manila quarterback Layne Sims celebrates with an unidentified teammate following Sims' 15-yard touchdown scamper that put the Lions ahead of Brookland 18-14 in the fourth quarter. The Bearcats scored with seven seconds remaining to deal Manila a season opening loss.

Manila answered with a touchdown of their own marching 58 yards on just five plays, scoring when Brett Carter broke three tackles, rambling into the end zone with just 1:16 left in the opening half of play. Manila edged closer on the last play of the third quarter when Carter electrified the crowd sprinting 80 yards to pull the Lions within 14-12. The Lions two point play failed leaving the 'Cats ahead by two. Manila's defense stiffened on Brookland's next possession stopping the bearcats on downs at the Lion 48 yard line. Sims scored seconds later putting Manila ahead but only for a short time.

Brookland outgained the Lions 206-195. But the real difference was on two point plays where Brookland was two of three while the Lions failed to convert in three attempts. Chase Dalton led the 'Cats, rushing 10 times for 74 yards. Barkley carried 13 times for 64 yards, while Pittman rushed seven times for 26 yards and the decisive touchdown. Hillis finished 2-6 through the air for 30 yards and two scores.

Carter paced the Lion offense picking up 130 yards on just seven carries and two touchdowns. Sims toted the ball 12 times for 58 yards and one score.

"If we can correct our mistakes, which we will do, we will be fine," said Lion Coach Jerry Castor. "The ball was a little wet and caused the bad snaps but we got that corrected. We botched three punt attempts and that hurt. But I was really proud of these kids. They fought hard and battled back after falling behind. I thought the kids overall did a great job tonight. We've just got to come back, get to work and we are going to be a good football team."

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