Junior Mohawks Come From Behind at Manila
It was an amazing game with an incredible ending, but fortunately for the Mohawks, it turned into a thrilling come-from-behind victory. The Piggott Mohawks rallied from 10 points down in the final 2:49 of the contest to stun Manila 20-18 in junior high football action Thursday night at Lion Field.
Manila held an 18-8 lead when the Mohawks took possession with 1:11 left in the third period. The Tribe responded with a 13 play, 58-yard scoring drive which ate up 6:26 of the clock, slicing the Lion lead to 18-14. Drake Featherston barged in from four yards out with 2:49 left in the game to pull the Mohakws to within 18-14.
Piggott lined up for an on-side kick and got a favorable hop, with Michael Parker recovering the ball at the Lion 41-yard line with 2:45 remaining in the game. Facing third and 13 from the Manila 44, the Mohawk signal-caller, Parker, completed his only pass of the night, hooking up with Featherston on a 39-yard completion, setting up a first and goal at the Lion five-yard line. With the clock ticking down, Parker sneaked in from a yard out with just 29 seconds left, giving Piggott a 20-18 lead. The two-point conversion attempt failed.
Manila's Dalton Mitchell returned the Piggott kickoff 30 yards, giving the Lions excellent field position at the Mohawk 41 with 23 seconds to go in the game. On first down, Manila quarterback Garrett Hart rambled 21 yards down to the Mohawk 20. Three straight plays netted minus four yards before Carter Walker's fourth down desperation pass was intercepted, ending the game. The pass attempt was tipped by Regan Ralph of the Mohawks, and was pulled down by Parker to seal the win.
The Mohawks held a slim 201-198 advantage in total yardage, but Piggott controlled the clock, keeping the ball for a whopping twenty-five minutes. Manila had possession for just 6:54, with five minutes coming on one drive. Piggott ran 51 plays compared to Manila's 18.
Manila got on the board early, scoring on the second play of the game when Hart darted 59 yards, giving the Lions a 6-0 lead. Piggott answered, driving 58 yards in 11 plays, capped off by Featherston's 19-yard touchdown burst to square the contest at 6-6 with 5:38 left in the first quarter. Tanner Dixon's two-point conversion run gave the Mohawks an 8-6 lead.
Manila answered with a 10-play, 69-yard touchdown drive with Hart delivering the score on an 11 yard run with just 29 seconds left in the first half. The two- point conversion attempt failed, leaving Manila with a 12-8 halftime advantage.
Piggott began the second half, eating up over 6:30 of the clock before turning the ball over on downs with 1:28 remaining in the period. On Manila's first play of the second half, Walker bolted 62 yards for a touchdown, giving the Lions an 18-8 lead with 1:15 left in the third period, setting up the frantic final quarter of action.
"I was really proud of the Junior Mohawks last night, they came out and showed some grit--moved the ball on offense and they executed the offensive philosphy we have here pretty well," Junior Coach Walter Rau said of the game. "They drove the ball, kept it off the ground and kept penaltys to a minimum. Defensively, we've got some things to work on, that's why we got behind. But, they never gave up, and the executed in the fourth quarter and came back from 18-8."
Rau also applauded the young team's resilience.
"They did a good job of coming back, kicked the on-side kick and got the ball back. Then went for the Hail Mary pass, which worked out great, mainly because we were able to execute and drive the ball," he added. "So, I was proud of them and I was glad they got a win and we hope to win-out in conference. They're still showing improvement, that's what they need to do at the junior high level."
Featherston topped the Mohawks, carrying 16 times for 69 yards and two touchdowns. Dixon rushed 14 times for 42 yards. Parker ran seven times for 25 yards and a score while completing one of four passes for 49 yards.
Hart led the Lions with nine carries for 119 yards and two scores. Walker carried twice for 59 yards and a touchdown while Alex Estell ran three times for 17 yards. Hart and Walker combined for just one of five passes for three yards and two interceptions.
The seventh grade contest, played prior to the junior high game, went to the host Lion Cubs by a final of 22-6.
The Junior Mohawks will return to the friendly confines of Parker Field Thursday evening as they host Walnut Ridge in conference play. The seventh grade game is set for 5 p.m. to be followed by the junior high game at 7. Both squads will wrap up their seasons next week, Thursday, Oct. 27, at Hoxie.