Junior Mohawks run past Manila 54-24

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Manila wide receiver Jacob McCullom tries to break away from a Mohawk defender Thursday night in junior high football action at Lion Field. (Town Crier photos/Trent Fletcher)

Piggott's explosive ground game proved too much for Manila in junior high football action Thursday night at Lion Field. The Mohawks rolled up 351 rushing yards, averaging 15 yards per carry in defeating the Lions 54-24.

Manila got on the board first when quarterback Layne Sims connected with wide receiver Grant Salzer on an 83-yard touchdown pass just over a minute into the game. The two point conversion attempt failed, but the Lions held a 6-0 lead.

Piggott roared right back, scoring on quarterback Trey Gossett's one-yard sneak. Gossett added the two point conversion and the Mohawks owned an 8-6 edge at the 4:30 mark of the first period.

Lion freshman Dalton Pasley looks for running room Thursday night in 3A-3 conference junior high football action at Manila.

Mohawk cornerback Gunner Shaw pounced on a Sims fumble, giving Piggott possession at the Lion 31 yard line. Shaw blasted into the end zone from 14 yards out, and when Gossett added the two point run, the Mohawks led 16-6 with 3:04 left in the opening quarter.

Manila drove deep into Mohawk territory on their next possession behind the running of Sims and Brett Carter. But the drive stalled, ending in a punt. A 16-yard Mason Tillman run moved the ball to midfield where Shaw bolted the final 49 yards into the end zone for Piggott's third score. Gossett's two point conversion upped the Mohawk advantage to 24-6.

Manila fought back, thanks to a 40-yard Sims scamper, setting the Lions up deep in Mohawk territory. Sims found wide receiver Ethan Navarro on a slant pattern from 14 yards out for his second touchdown toss of the evening. The two point conversion attempt failed, leaving the Mohawks in front 24-12 with 2:53 left in the half.

Piggott wasted little time in answering, taking the ensuing kickoff and driving 65 yards in just five plays. A 30-yard Gossett run set up Shaw's third touchdown of the first half, a 17-yard ramble into the end zone with 35 ticks left on the clock. The two point conversion pass failed, but the Mohawks enjoyed a 30-12 advantage at intermission.

Tillman fielded the second half kickoff and raced 80 yards untouched into the end zone. Gossett's two point conversion pass gave Piggott a 38-12 lead.

Manila came right back as Navarro took the Mohawk kick and sprinted 70 yards to the Piggott six. Sims scooted in from two yards out with 7:01 left in the third period, slicing the Piggott advantage to 38-18.

The Mohawks scored again on their next possession when Tillman bulled in from one yard out. The Piggott touchdown was set up by a 49-yard Shaw run. Shaw added the two point conversion and Piggott increased their advantage to 46-18 with 3:58 left in the third quarter.

Manila got a three yard touchdown run by Sims at the 3:11 mark of the fourth period, before the Mohawks closed out the scoring when Shaw bolted 62 yards with 2:51 to go. Gossett's two point run set the final mark as the two teams combined for a whopping 78 points.

Both teams rolled up over 300 yards total offense, with Piggott finishing with 351, all on the ground. Shaw gained 229 yards on just eight carries for an average of 29.6 yards per rush. Shaw finished with four touchdowns on the evening. Tillman rushed seven times for 52 yards and a score while Gossett carried four times for 45 yards and a touchdown. Lane Buchanan toted four times for 25 yards.

Sims had a big night for Manila, carrying 17 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns. The freshman quarterback also completed three passes for 106 yards and two more scores. Carter ran eight times for 32 yards before leaving the game with an injury. Dalton Pasley rushed seven times for 50 yards. Salzer had one reception for 83 yards and a touchdown. Navarro caught one pass for 14 yards and a score while Michael Parker snared one reception for nine yards.

"We just took an old fashioned butt-whipping tonight," said Lion Coach Jerry Castor. "But we will regroup and come back next week. We moved the ball well tonight but we couldn't stop their run game. Layne Sims had an excellent game. We had some injuries with Brett Carter and Grant Salzer and hopefully they will be okay. We will regroup and get after Corning next week."

The junior Lions close out the regular season against Corning Thursday night at Lion Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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