Lions stun Marked Tree 27-24
After losing their season opener in heartbreaking fashion last week at East Poinsett County, Manila entered the win column with a thrilling 27-24 come from behind victory Friday night at Marked Tree.
Trailing 24-21 with 3:30 left in the game, the Lions forced a Jarmaria Anderson fumble, recovering the ball at their own 38-yard line. Manila quarterback Layne Sims gained three yards on first down. The Lions were assessed a procedure penalty, pushing them back to the 36. On second and 12, Sims rolled to the right and found Ethan Navarro streaking down the sideline. Sims heaved a perfect throw, landing in Navarro’s breadbasket to complete a 49-yard pass play, giving Manila first down at the Marked Tree 16 with one minute to play. Sims gained eight yards on first down. On second and two, the senior signal caller went straight up the gut on a quarterback draw. The Indian defense seemed to stop Sims short of the goal line, but several Lion teammates pushed Sims into the end zone, giving Manila a three-point lead with just 20 seconds remaining.
Marked Tree threw three incompletions as the clock ran out, giving the Lions their first victory of the year.
Manila got on the board first when Sims connected with Dalton Slaughter on a 12-yard touchdown pass at the 4:41 mark of the first quarter. Abraham Lopez knocked through the point after, giving the Lions an early 7-0 lead.
An Indian turnover gave the ball back to Manila, and the Lions proceeded to drive 62 yards in 10 plays, capped off by Sims’ four-yard touchdown scamper with 11:13 left in the half. Lopez’ point after gave Manila a 14-0 advantage.
The Indians answered when Anderson broke free and darted 66 yards untouched for Marked Tree’s first score of the game. The two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving Manila with a 14-6 lead.
Manila took the ensuing kickoff and marched to the Marked Tree 20, but Jack Brown picked off a Sims pass, giving the Indians the ball back at their own one. On the next play, Marked Tree quarterback Eli McCrary lost the handle on the ball and Lion David Keys jumped on the fumble in the end zone for a Manila touchdown. Lopez’s kick put the Lions ahead 21-6 with 6:23 to go in the half.
The Indians got their second score of the night with just 20 seconds left before intermission on a five- yard touchdown pass from McCrary to Brown. The two-point run failed, leaving the Lions up 21-12 at intermission.
Marked Tree pulled closer late in the third quarter when Kylen Johnson scored from 12 yards out at the 2:13 mark. The two-point pass fell incomplete, but the Indians were within 21-18 entering the fourth quarter.
The Indians took their first lead of the night with 8:51 left in the game on an eight-yard Anderson touchdown run. Anderson’s score was set up when Johnson galloped 53 yards, giving Marked Tree a first and goal inside the Lion 10.
Marked Tree outgained Manila in total yards, 430 to 281. The Indians picked up 312 yards on the ground, led by Andersons’s 12 carry, 132-yard performance. Anderson also scored two touchdowns. Johnson finished with 11 carries for 66 yards and a score. McCrary completed four of 16 passes for 118 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Manila had 167 yards rushing, led by Sims who carried 21 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Brett Carter had 11 totes for 33 yards. Sims completed seven of 20 passes for 114 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Slaughter caught three passes for 52 yards and a score. Navarro snared two receptions for 53 yards while Jacob McCollum had one reception for nine yards.
“We were opportunistic in the fourth quarter and took advantage of their mistakes,” said Lion Coach Lorin Morgan. “That’s something we didn’t do in the first half. Marked Tree is a good team. They played their hearts out. We played hard as well, and we prevailed. We came up with the big pass play from Layne Sims to Ethan Navarro, then we got some good blocking and pushed Layne into the end zone. I felt like we were kind of sluggish and flat early, but we rose to the top when we needed to. It feels great to get that first win under our belts.”
Manila returns to action Friday night with a nonconference tilt against Marvell. Kickoff is set for 7:00 at Lion Field.