It was a long night for Conway Blue on Thursday.
On the heels of their first victory of season last week against Cabot South, the Kittens ran into a pack of hungry and South Division leading Wolves at John McConnell Stadium.
Lake Hamilton (6-0, 3-0) pounded Conway Blue into submission during a 44-8 victory in a Central Arkansas Junior High Conference game. The Wolves were a touchdown away from invoking the sportsmanship rule on the Kittens before the half, taking a 37-8 advantage at the break.
"We made too many mental mistakes in the first half that put them in position to score," Conway Blue coach Jeff Prince said. "We’re coming off a win last week against Cabot, but we haven’t been competing for a full game. I told the guys that you can’t put yourself in a position to get down and expect to come back against a good team like Lake Hamilton."
The Kittens (1-6, 1-3) were in trouble starting with the opening kickoff. Lake Hamilton scored on its opening drive, and then after a Conway Blue turnover, the Wolves found the end zone again. Lake Hamilton’s Cody Smith rumbled 35 yards for a touchdown, and Smith ran in the 2-point conversion attempt, putting the visitors up 16-0, with 2:12 left in the first quarter.
Conway Blue got on the scoreboard at the 5:17 mark when Damontray Ridgell caught a pass over the outstretched arms of a safety, and ran it in from 23 yards. Cody Rhoades threw another completion for a score on the two-point conversion attempt when he connected with Mario Rodriguez.
The Wolves scored three touchdowns in the final four minutes of the first half. Their final two touchdowns came with less than 30 seconds left.
Lake Hamilton’s Clay Jessie completed a 49-yard touchdown pass to Smith with 28 seconds left. On the ensuing kickoff, the Wolves recovered a fumble. And on their next play from scrimmage, Jessie hit a wide-open Logan Etheridge for a 25-yard pass with 15 seconds left.
Bob Courtway made a late charge, but it wasn’t enough as Lake Hamilton was able to hold on to a 32-20 victory.
Bob Courtway (5-2) received two touchdown runs from Alex Reed and one from Joe Joe Webster. Josh Taber caught a pass from Tyler Garretson on a 2-point conversion attempt.
"Lake Hamilton is always a tough team to play and we knew that coming into the game," Bob Courtway coach Terry Clardy said. "Our offense got some things going and we made some mistakes on defense. We have some guys who are injured and sick. We need to get them healthy and get them back into the mix, so we can make a strong run to finish off the year."
Bob Courtway is scheduled to play at Benton next week before the ninth-grade grade.
"These guys have responded since Day 1," Clardy said. "We’re fine. We’re just ready to play that total ballgame."