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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • T-Birds defeat Eagles 54-0 in season opener for both squads

  • Reed St. Columbia scored the first three times he got his hands on the football as did the DeSoto Thunderbirds in a 54-0 rout of their Phillips County rivals the Marvell Academy Eagles at Sam Howe Field Friday night.
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  • Reed St. Columbia scored the first three times he got his hands on the football as did the DeSoto Thunderbirds in a 54-0 rout of their Phillips County rivals the Marvell Academy Eagles at Sam Howe Field Friday night. For the Thunderbirds, the contest offered a little bit of everything from touchdowns, to interceptions to fumble recoveries. The Eagles quickly went three and out on their first series and St. Columbia returned the Marvell Academy punt 60 yards almost untouched for the score. The scenario was the same on the Eagles second possession, only this time St. Columbia's TD return was a mere 37 yards. Marvell Academy blocked the Thunderbirds first extra point try of the evening but DeSoto went up 14-0 on the second score after Bradley Harper ran in the 2-point conversion. On their third possession the Eagles managed to string together a couple of first downs behind the running efforts of Collin White and Caleb Gannon. However, the drive ran out of steam and Marvell Academy was again forced to punt. DeSoto's second offensive play from scrimmage resulted in a 42-yard run by St. Columbia. With 3:03 remaining in the opening quarter, the T-Birds had taken a commanding 21-0 lead. Zac Manning picked off an errant Marvell Academy pass to set up the Thunderbirds' final score of the opening quarter. With 1:37 to play, Ryan Self turned in the longest play from scrimmage with an 87-yard touchdown run. Playing 8-man football rules, DeSoto tacked on two more touchdowns in the second quarter. Griffin Christine got in on the scoring parade with a 46-yard scoring run at the 8:36 mark of the second quarter. With 2:57 remaining in the half, Self scored his second touchdown of the night on a 12-yard run. Marvell Academy put together its most impressive drive of the night during the final two minutes of the half sparked by a 67-yard run by White. The Eagles were unable to finish off the drive before time ran out in the first half. The Mercy Rule went into effect in the second half but the T-Birds still managed to put up two additional touchdowns. The first came with 3:09 left in the third quarter when Tucker Von Kanel scored from six yards out. A fumble recovery by Dalton Reyna, a freshman, with just 50 seconds left in the third quarter set up the T-Birds' final touchdown of the night. Tyler Warfield punched it in from four yards out with six minutes to play. The resilient Eagles refused to go quietly as they valiantly battle to erase the goose egg on the scoreboard but it simply wasn't to be. Marvell Academy drove the ball from its 22 to the DeSoto 27 before time finally expired. During the contest, Russell Brothers nailed four extra points. Friday night, the T-Birds (1-0) march into Cleveland, Miss. to take on the Bayou Academy Colts. The Eagles (0-1) plan to regroup when they host Friendship Academy

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