On just three plays, DeSoto quarterback Zac Manning accounted for almost 150 yards rushing. Two of those carries were for touchdowns. He passed for a third score and on defense, the 2-way performer contributed an interception as the Thunderbirds ripped the visiting West Memphis Christian Black Knights, 35-7 Friday night.
However, the T-Birds got off to a very sluggish first quarter start. DeSoto had gone more than 6 and ˝ quarters without scoring a touchdown before Manning ended the drought with a 35-yard run on a busted play midway through the second quarter.
The T-Birds and Knights played scoreless first and fourth quarters but tallied a combined 42 points in the two quarters sandwiched in between. Both squads were plagued by penalties and miscues throughout the contest.
It was a DeSoto fumble that set up the Knights' only score of the game. The touchdown came off a 15-yard run at the 8:48 mark of the second quarter. From that point on it was all T-Birds as DeSoto rolled off 35 unanswered points.
It took the Thunderbirds about 3 and ˝ minutes to respond to the Knights' score. Manning set up his 35-yard scoring run with a 15-yard scamper. Rowland Brothers clicked on the first of all five of his successful extra point tries.
DeSoto scored again with just four seconds left in the half when Manning connected with Reed St. Columbia for a TD pass that covered 25 yards.
Following a rather rusty first half, the Thunderbirds' offense exploded in the second half. Just 48 seconds into the third quarter, running back Griffin Christine struck paydirt from two yards away.
A little over three minutes later, Manning raced down the sidelines for a 75-yard touchdown run. Christine finished off the DeSoto scoring with a 1-yard run with 2:58 to play in the third quarter.
The Knights managed to mount only one more serious drive that ended when they turned the ball over on downs at the DeSoto 9 early in the fourth quarter.
DeSoto, 8-1, 3-0, rebounded nicely following a disappointing non-conference 21-0 loss last weekend to Winona Christian. This Friday, the T-Birds travel to Holly Springs to take on the Marshall Academy Patriots, 8-1, 3-0. This game will be for all of the marbles. The 1A North Conference championship will be on the line.