Wildcats claw past Lions 20-8

Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Timmy Smith (23) and Dalton Jones (38) work with an unidentified Lion teammate (ground) to bring down Trumann's Cade Gartman (15) in senior high football action Friday night at Manila.

Connor Haag's 11-yard touchdown pass to Garrett Woods with eight seconds left in the first half put the visiting Wildcats on top for good in Trumann's 20-8 come from behind victory over Manila in the Lions' home opener Friday night at Lion Field.

Trumann struck first on a five yard touchdown run by Cade Gartman, who finished the night with 101 yards rushing. Trumann's two point conversion attempt failed, leaving the Wildcats with a 6-0 edge with 2:47 left in the opening quarter.

Lion defensive end Marcos Flores recovered a Wildcat fumble at the Lion 40 yard line midway through the second quarter. Manila marched 60 yards in five plays, tying the game on a 42-yard scamper around left end by quarterback Jake Helton. Michael Dixon rambled into the end zone with the two point conversion to give the Lions an 8-6 lead with 5:33 left in the opening half.

Manila defenders Marcos Flores (85), Jeremy Wilbanks (70) and Tyler Archer (15) rush Trumann quarterback Connor Haag in senior high football action Friday night at Lion Field.

Haag's touchdown throw to Woods put Trumann on top, 14-8, at intermission. The Wildcats took the opening kickoff in the third quarter and drove 59 yards in seven plays, capped off by Haag's two yard touchdown run at the 8:23 mark. The two point conversion pass fell incomplete, but the Wildcats held a 20-8 lead.

Manila tried to answer, putting together a 13-play drive of their own, but the Wildcat defense stiffened, holding the Lions on downs at the Trumann 10 yard line.

Manila's defense got the ball back when Dalton Jones pounced on a Haag fumble at the Trumann 46 yard line with 9:30 left in the game. The Lions drove deep into Wildcat territory, but Helton's fourth down pass to Patrick Tanner came up short of the first down marker, giving the ball back to Trumann at the Wildcat eight yard line. Trumann ate up all but 59 seconds of the clock before turning the ball over to Manila at the Wildcat 26. Manila's attempt for one ended as time expired.

The victory improved Trumann's record to 2-0 while Manila fell to 1-1. The Wildcats racked up 240 yards of total offense, including 183 on the ground. Haag rushed 16 times for 46 yards and a touchdown and completed four of seven passes for 39 yards and a score. Woods completed his only pass attempt for 18 yards and led the Wildcat receivers with two receptions for 14 yards and a touchdown.

Manila junior high quarterback Layne Sims rips off a 57-yard touchdown run in first quarter action Thursday night at Wildcat Field.

Manila finished with 184 total yards, with 155 coming on the ground. Helton carried 16 times for 81 yards and a score. Dixon had nine carries for 31 yards. Josh McQueen had two rushes for 17 yards while Tanner had three carries for 12 yards. Aaron Carter toted two times for 11 yards, Kyle Bell had one carry for two yards while Timmy Smith rushed twice for one yard.

Helton completed six of 11 passes for 29 yards. Tanner led the Lion receivers with three snares for seven yards. Dixon had one catch for 18 while McQueen caught one pass for four yards.

"We just didn't do the little things tonight to win the game," said Lion Coach Jerry Castor. "We just made too many mistakes. We stood up too much on the defensive line and we weren't as aggressive as we needed to be against a team as good as Trumann. But we have a good football team. We'll start working on the little things this week."

Manila linebacker Tyler Johnson (54) takes down Trumann quarterback Connor Haag (2) in first half football action Friday night at Lion Field.

In junior high action, Trumann raced past Manila 32-8 in a lightning delayed game Thursday night at Wildcat Field. Trumann's Zac Buchanan scored two touchdowns while Jessie Pinner, Will Ryan White and Jay Taylor Morgan all added touchdowns for the undefeated Wildcats.

Manila, who fell behind 8-0 after Buchanan bolted 56 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter, tied the game on quarterback Lane Sims' 57-yard touchdown dash with 51 seconds left in the opening period. Brett Carter's two point conversion run evened the score at 8-8.

After a 30 minute lightning delay, Trumann scored four unanswered touchdowns to secure the victory as the Lions fell to 0-2 on the season.

Manila vs. Westside

The senior Lions opened the season Sept. 4 at Westside, coming away with a 34-20 victory over the Warriors. The win marked the first opening season victory and the first win over a 4A school for Manila since resuming football.

Jake Helton led the Lions with 13 rushes for 107 yards and a touchdown. The senior quarterback also completed one pass to Josh McQueen for 17 yards. Michael Dixon carried 14 times for 44 yards and scored two touchdowns while McQueen added two rushes for seven yards with a pair of scores. Aaron Carter had 12 totes for 68 yards, Timmy Smith rushed twice for 23 while Patrick Tanner had one carry for 12 yards.

The Lions rolled up 278 yards of total offense with 261 coming on the ground.

Westside's Quoshon Gillespie starred for the Warriors, carrying 14 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. Gillespie also caught two passes for 35 yards and score. Fullback Tyke Taylor rushed five times for 58 yards and a score before leaving the game with an injury in the second quarter. Quarterback Kenny McFadden completed four of 10 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. Westside totaled 303 yards on the night with 216 coming on the ground.

"Wow! I think it's the first time we've won an opening game and beaten a 4A team in our school's history," Castor said. "It's just a big win for these kids. It was a great ballgame."

The junior Lions travel to Hoxie Thursday night to begin 3A-3 conference play against the Mustangs. The senior Lions will play host to Brookland in a non-conference matchup Friday night at Lion Field.

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