Big third quarter boosts Bobcats past Manila 38-15
Walnut Ridge, bolstered by Luke Harper's huge night, roared past Manila 38-15 in 3A-2 football action Friday night at Bobcat Field. Harper exploded up the middle on the 'Cats first play from scrimmage and raced 64 yards for a touchdown. The 2-point attempt failed leaving Walnut Ridge with an early 6-0 lead.
Manila answered when Patrick Tanner found Tyler Archer on a 64-yard pass and run. Archer hurdled one would-be Bobcat defender and outran his other pursuers into the end zone to even the game 6-6 at the 6:42 mark of the second quarter. D.J. Myers tacked on the PAT to give the Lions their only lead of the night, 7-6.
Walnut Ridge came right back on their next possession, taking the lead on Colin Phillips' 9-yard run with 4:34 to go before the half. A 54-yard pass from Bobcat quarterback Will Weir to wide receiver Slade Dalton set up Phillips' score. The 2-point try failed, leaving the Bobcats ahead 12-7 at intermission.
Walnut Ridge put the game away with a third quarter scoring surge featuring Harper, who found the end zone three times. Harper scored on runs of three, 33, and 13 yards before Weir hit Dalton on a 35-yard scoring strike to push the Bobcat advantage to 38-7.
The Lions capped off the night's scoring when Luke Hamilton bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out late in the game. Lane Sims' 2-point conversion run set the final score at 38-15.
Walnut Ridge, who remained undefeated on the year at 4-0, totaled 418 yards of offense including 295 on the ground and 123 through the air. Weir completed six of fourteen passes for 123 yards and one touchdown. Harper gained 225 yards rushing on 23 carries and four scores. Harper also spearheaded a Bobcat defense that limited the Lions to just 188 total yards. Harper picked off two Manila passes and finished with double digit tackles.
Hamilton led the Lions with 15 rushes for 54 yards and a touchdown. Timmy Smith recovered a fumble and returned it 56 yards, setting up Manila's second score. Tanner completed two of nine throws for 67 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Manila, 2-2 overall and 0-1 in league play, will host Hoxie Friday night at Lion Field. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.