Visiting Farmers ground out comeback victory over Many

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The season-opening high school football clash of titans Friday night at John W. Curtis Stadium in Many lived up to billing during the 48 minutes of on-field competition, with last year’s Class 3A runner-up Union Parish winning a slugfest with 2020 Class 2A state champion Many High School 42-32.

A late touchdown clinched the outcome for the visiting Farmers, but the season opener was a titanic battle between teams many expect will be back in their respective state finals in December. Many’s Tigers started strongly, but Union Parish star running back Trey Holly and his massive offensive line  pounded away and mounted a comeback.

Union fumbled away the opening kickoff. The Tigers drove 51 yards in seven plays to score, four runs by London Williams whose 9-yard bolt and a two-point conversion made it 8-0.

Many’s defense, highlighted by a big hit from Tiger linebacker Marquiese Maxie, kept the Farmers bottled up and off the scoreboard until the closing minutes of the opening half while Many doubled its lead.

After a Jeremiah James 22-yard run, Williams broke loose for a 55-yard TD. James added a two-point conversion with 7:31 left, lifting MHS up 16-0.

Union finally broke through, with the big offensive line opening holes exploited by the Farmers’ running backs. Holly popped a 17-yard run down to the 2 and cashed in the TD on the next play.  After a two-point try failed with 3:18 left in the half, Many’s lead was cut to 16-6. Holly was held to 50 yards at the half, but he was far from finished.

The Farmers’ first try after halftime revealed a change in momentum, when they needed only six plays on a scoring drive that narrowed the margin to 16-14. It was a sign of things to come with the Tigers defense looking very tired. The big Union offensive line had begun to take over.

Following an opening three-and-out possession, Many magic struck on the Tigers’ second series of the third quarter. On the fourth play, Curtis covered 52 yards for a TD on an electrifying run. James added the conversion to run the score to 24-14. 

But the Farmers punched right back, with a combination that pushed them on top. On the next play from scrimmage, Holly housed it from 63 yards out and easily added the conversion to close UPHS to 24-22 with 4:11 left in the third. 

Following a three-and-out Many series, Union returned a very short punt to Many’s 5. Holly scored on the next play and after a failed conversion, the Farmers were up 28-24.

Scoring on two straight touches, Holly upped his total to 150 yards on 19 carries entering the final period and keyed a 22-point quarter.

Union scored on a third straight possession, getting a solid drive ended by a 32-yard TD from Holly who also easily added the conversion for a 36-24 advantage with 5:59 left in the game.

Many fought back. James exploded on an elusive 66-yard run, and finished off the drive with a 10-yard TD run and the conversion drawing Many within 36-32 with 4:23 left. 

The Tiger defense needed a stand for there to be any chance for a late comeback, but it wasn’t in the cards. Union’s fullback broke loose up the middle for a good gain, followed by a 30-yard run by Holly into scoring range. Ja’Quarius Donald posted the clinching score from the 14 to pad the margin to 42-32 with only 37 seconds left. 

Union’s ground and pound offense posted a decisive 36-point second half in the comeback win.

 

Next Friday, the Tigers travel south to DeRidder to face the 4A Dragons.

 

Scoring Summary:

1st Quarter-

8:34:   M: London Williams 9 run, Williams conversion – M 8-0

 

2nd Quarter –

7:31: M: Williams 55 run, Jeremiah James conversion – M 16-0

3:18:  U: Trey Holly 2 run, conversion failed – M 16-6

 

 3rd Quarter –

6:29:  U: Ja’Quarius Donald 15 run, conversion on pass – M 16-14

4:23:  M: Tackett Curtis 52 run, James conversion – M 24-14

4:11:  U: Holly 63 run, Holly conversion – M 24-22

1:28:  U: Holly 5 run, missed conversion – U 28-24

 

 4th Quarter –

5:59:  U: Holly 33 run, Holly conversion – U 36-24

4:23:  M: James 10 run, James conversion – U 36-32

:37   U: Donald 1 run, conversion failed – U 42-32

 

Team Total Yards:  Many 443; Union 362

 

Passing: 

MHS: Curtis 1-5, 12 yards

U: Dixon 1-2, 6 yards

 

Rushing:

MHS : Williams 26-149 yards, 2 TDs

James 15-145 yards, 1 TD

Curtis 7-137 yards, 1 TD

U:  Holly 25-230 yards, 4 TD’s

Donald 13-69 yards, 2 TD’s


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