CONWAY — Senior running back Cary McClain rushed for three touchdowns, and senior cornerback Randy Thomas intercepted two passes in the first quarter as Conway rolled to a 49-7 victory over Rogers in the opening round of the Class 7A state playoffs at John McConnell Stadium on Friday night.
Conway (9-2) advances to play at Bentonville West in next week’s quarterfinals.
The Wampus Cats treated Rogers (3-7-1) like the No. 6 seed the Mounties were. Conway scored on six of eight first-half drives, outgaining Rogers 275-112 in the first two quarters and taking a 42-0 halftime lead.
Coming off a 40-10 loss to Bryant in the regular-season finale, Conway Coach Keith Fimple seemed pleased with the way the Wampus Cats responded.
“With everything we had going on last week — having to deal with the rain, practicing all three days indoors and then playing a great Bryant team on top of that — I thought we came back out and responded well tonight,” Fimple said. “That was great.”
Junior Luke Bailey returned the opening kickoff 57 yards to put the Wampus Cats on the Rogers’ 39 and set the tone.
McClain ran only six times but managed 127 yards. His touchdown runs went for 38, 75 and 4 yards. Senior quarterback Jovoni Johnson scored on runs of 3 and 2 yards, and the Wampus Cats also picked up a touchdown from senior left guard Lance Rogers, who scored on a 6-yard run out of a “jumbo” package with 3:01 left before halftime.
Trailing 14-0 midway through the first quarter, Rogers drove from its own 16 to the Conway 1. A 35-yard pass from junior Hunter Loyd to Jace Bray put the Mounties on the Conway 7, and Sammy Zamarron ran 6 yards to the 1 on the next play.
But a fumble on second and goal from the 1 and a false start penalty on the ensuing snap pushed the Mounties back to the 6. On third and goal, Mason Ross was cornered for a 7-yard loss. An incomplete pass on fourth down gave Conway the ball at its own 13.
Four plays later, McClain broke free up the middle for his 75-yard score with 1:15 left in the first quarter.
“Good things happened both ways for us,” Fimple said. “We gave up a big pass to get them down to our goal line, but it was one of those things where we found a way to do something good. Their fumble helped us a little bit and the penalty on top of that. It was something to build on.”
Johnson completed 6 of 11 passes for 99 yards, all in the first half. Sophomore Bryce Bohanon caught 4 passes for 60 yards, and Nick Richmond hauled in 2 receptions for 39 yards.
Conway’s starters did not play in the second half.
Loyd completed 14 of 31 passes for 158 yards but was intercepted 3 times for Rogers. Loyd connected with junior Mason Ross for a 46-yard TD pass with 2:13 left to account for the Mounties’ lone score.
Conway’s lone second-half touchdown was a 32-yard run by Deonta Bennett.
Sports on 11/10/2018