Walnut Ridge quarterback Mari Thomas rushed for 168 yards and four touchdowns and teammate Blane Wade ran for 160 yards and a touchdown as the Bobcats snapped a six-game losing skid by defeating the Manila Lions 33-24 on Friday night.
The Bobcats struck first when Thomas ran for a three-yard touchdown with 9:32 to play in the first quarter. Parker Carmack kicked the extra-point to give Walnut Ridge an early 7-0 lead.
Manila responded with two consecutive touchdowns, followed by two-point conversions, to move in front 16-7 at the end of the opening period.
Walnut Ridge scored the only points of the second quarter on Thomas’s three-yard keeper with 4:11 remaining. Carmack’s PAT brought the Bobcats to within 16-14 at the intermission.
The Lions scored quickly after the break. The two-point conversion gave Manila a 24-14 advantage with 10:19 to play in the third quarter. That proved to be the Lions’ final points, as the Bobcats would take over and score 19 unanswered points to earn the victory.
Thomas capped Walnut Ridge’s ensuing drive with another three-yard run to close the gap to 24-20 with 7:39 to play in the third. Thomas next got loose for a 50-yard touchdown run to put the Cats ahead 26-24 with 12:29 remaining in the period.
Walnut Ridge added to their lead in the fourth quarter when Wade scored on a two-yard run with 10:42 to play in the game. Carmack added the extra-point to set the final score at 33-24.
In addition to Thomas and Wade’s output, Kai Watson rushed for 13 yards on three carries.
Walnut Ridge’s record improved to 2-6 overall and 1-5 in 3A-3 conference play. The Bobcats host Hoxie this week. Game time is 7 p.m. on Friday night.