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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Thunderbirds lasso Colts, 35-7

  • Coach Bill Beck likes to regularly rotate the running backs in the DeSoto Thunderbird backfield. The rotating backs bring in the plays and keep a fresh set of legs in the backfield. The procedure generates a lot of playing time for the entire squad.
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  • Coach Bill Beck likes to regularly rotate the running backs in the DeSoto Thunderbird backfield. The rotating backs bring in the plays and keep a fresh set of legs in the backfield. The procedure generates a lot of playing time for the entire squad. The Thunderbirds also like to spread out the scoring as five separate players put DeSoto's touchdowns on the scoreboard as the T-Birds won in convincing style, 35-7, over the Bayou Academy Colts here Friday night. In the beginning, it appeared as thought the contest was going to be close as the two teams battled to a scoreless draw through the first 12 minutes of action. Bayou Academy actually dominated the game in time of possession early on pounding the ball to the DeSoto 15 before a stubborn Thunderbird defense halted the Colts' lengthy opening drive. DeSoto put together a sustained drive of 85 yards on its next possession. A 28-yard run by quarterback Zac Manning to the Colt 11 set up DeSoto's first score of the night. With 10:54 to play in the half, Reed St. Columbia scored from nine yards out. It was his fourth touchdown of the very young 2013 season. Just over three minutes later, the T-Birds were on the scoreboard again following a Colt punt. On a second and goal play from the 14, Ryan Self hammered into the end zone to put the Thunderbirds up 14-0. The Thunderbirds were on the move again after Manning picked off a Bayou Academy pass and returned it to the Colt 23. However, the DeSoto drive stalled at the Bayou Academy 8 yard line. Rowland Brothers narrowly missed a 25-yard field goal attempt that would have given DeSoto a 17-point advantage. DeSoto scored one more time before the half. After the Colts turned the ball over on downs, Manning connected with Bradley Harper who turned the short screen pass into a 55-yard scoring play. DeSoto led 21-0 at the half. With 4:57 to play in the third quarter, DeSoto capped off a 95-yard scoring drive with a 50-yard run by Manning on an apparent broken passing play. Harper gave the T-Birds another scoring opportunity when he picked off a Bayou Academy pass and returned it to the Colt 46. That drive stalled at the 19 and Brothers launched a 36-yard field goal that also just missed. A third DeSoto interception set up DeSoto's final score of the evening as Manning picked off his second pass of the night this time at the Bayou Academy 35. Griffin Christine drove the final nail in the Colts' coffin when he burst into the end zone from 14 yards out with 11:31 to play. With the mercy rule in effect, the Colts were determined they were not going to be shut out and managed to put their only scoring drive of the night together late in the fourth quarter. The drive culminated in a 1-yard scoring run with 1:37 to play. The score ended DeSoto's seven consecutive scoreless quarters by its defensive unit. Offensively, the T-Birds have scored in every quarter this season save the opening quarter against Bayou Academy. Manning was a standout on offense and defense for the T-Birds scoring on a 50-yard run, passing for a 55-yard touchdown and intercepting two passes. DeSoto (2-0) battles Greenville Christian Saints (0-2) tonight in a homecoming clash at Sam Howe Field.
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