Senior wide receiver Shane Smith caught three touchdown passes -- including the game winner late in the fourth quarter -- and younger brother Manny ran for two more scores in Conway's 38-31 comeback victory over Little Rock Catholic in an important 7A-Central matchup Friday night at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.
Conway (7-2, 5-1) beat Catholic for the 11th consecutive season and can earn a share of the conference championship, and a No. 1 playoff seed, with a victory over defending state champion Bryant in the regular-season finale next week at home. Catholic (6-3, 4-2) led 31-14 late in the third quarter before two lost fumbles fueled Conway's rally.
Shane Smith's third touchdown reception -- a 50-yard fingertip grab from senior quarterback Nick McCuin -- gave Conway its first lead, 38-31, with 1:17 remaining in the game.
Smith finished with eight receptions for 156 yards. He also had second-half touchdown receptions of 26 and 30 yards. Manny Smith, an explosive sophomore tailback, ran 14 times for 111 yards and 2 first-half touchdowns (29 and 26 yards).
"Good family to have in Conway," second-year Wampus Cats Coach Keith Fimple said.
The Rockets had stretched a 17-14 halftime lead to 31-14 when senior quarterback Jordan Edington ran 39 yards for a touchdown with 4:27 remaining in the third quarter.
After McCuin threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Shane Smith with 2:19 remaining in the third quarter, Catholic lost fumbles at its 44 and 38 on consecutive fourth-quarter possessions. Conway converted both turnovers into scores, with McCuin -- on fourth-and-goal from the 30 -- throwing a touchdown pass to Smith, who outleaped two defenders in the end zone, and senior Will Hogue kicking a 29-yard field goal to make it 31-31 with 3:44 remaining in the game.
The Wampus Cats then forced a punt, and McCuin found Smith on a third-down deep post pattern near the 15 for the game-winning touchdown. McCuin completed 19 of 38 passes for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was intercepted three times.
"That's always big, getting turnovers and being able to execute off them," Fimple said. "That got us back in the game right there. I was so proud of the way the kids fought. They never gave up. They've done this now to me for two years. I've gotten pretty used to it. We talk about adversity all the time and try to overcome those things. They did a good job tonight."
Edington completed 18 of 29 passes for 196 yards and 1 touchdown (49 yards) and ran 13 times for 49 yards and 2 touchdowns (1 and 39 yards). The Rockets led 17-14 at halftime on junior Paul Owens' 26-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in the second quarter.
"All we had to do was take care of it," Catholic Coach John Fogleman said. "But like I told the kids, it wasn't just the fumbles. When you've got a team [facing a] fourth down and we can't knock the ball down ... there were a lot of things that went wrong, not just one thing."
Sports on 11/02/2019
Print Headline: Conway's win over Catholic a family affair