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DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Conway's Omolo shines against best

by Adam Cole | October 12, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

With then-No. 2 Cabot coming to town last Friday night, Conway quarterback Donovyn Omolo didn't feel all that nervous.

"We felt like we could just go out there and play like ourselves and we could beat anybody in the state," Omolo said.

It was the second week in a row Omolo and the Wampus Cats faced a top-5 opponent, as it went into North Little Rock a week earlier and toppled an undefeated Charging Wildcat team for the first time since 2011.

But with a seemingly bigger task on hand, Conway was even more explosive in a high-flying affair as it defeated the Panthers 57-21. At the center of it all was Omolo, who finished 20-of-27 passing -- completing a season-high 74.1% of his passes -- for 335 yards and 3 touchdowns, earning him this week's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Player of the Week honor.

"The thing that sticks out with you is his poise, to be as young as he is ... and the way he's handling it right now," Conway Coach Keith Fimple said. "It's impressive to see his work ethic, and it's good to see one of those nights like you saw on Friday night."

On the year, Omolo boasts a 59.3% completion percentage on 102-of-172 passing for 1,509 yards with 15 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He has also ran the ball 32 times for 182 yards and 2 scores.

The sophomore's performance against Cabot was a sign of continued improvement in the face of new circumstances. That's because, coming into the season, Omolo wasn't even projected to be the Wampus Cats' starting quarterback.

Conway junior Sam Gregg was expected to assume the starting role. But after suffering a finger injury ahead of the Wampus Cats' Week 1 game against Fayetteville, Omolo was thrust into the role. Despite a loss to the Bulldogs, he finished the game 23 of 36 for 282 yards.

"It's been really impressive," Conway offensive coordinator Mark Kelley said. "He's just gotten more comfortable every week and it seems like, not only can you just tell that he's more comfortable in the pocket, but his production just increases."

Omolo was nervous heading into Week 1, he said. But since then, Conway hasn't lost with him under center. The improvement Kelley notes shows, at least on paper, from week to week.

After beating Bentonville in Week 2 -- a game in which Omolo completed 41% of his passes and threw an interception -- the quarterback has had a better completion percentage each week since and he's only thrown one more interception.

"I feel like I'm getting better and progressing," Omolo said. "Through my reads, accuracy and understanding the pace of the game, I feel like I have a lot of pocket experience now. I can sense when things are coming."

Perhaps most impressive is Omolo's performance against top-10 opponents. Four of the Wampus Cats' six games have been against top-10 teams in the state and they've gone 3-1 in those games. Omolo is 69 of 116 in those games for 943 yards and 9 touchdowns. He's also added 148 rush yards and 2 touchdowns on 22 carries in those games.

At a glance

DONOVYN OLOMO

SCHOOL Conway

CLASS Sophomore

POSITION Quarterback

HEIGHT 6-1

WEIGHT 180 pounds

NOTEWORTHY With 102 completions for 1,509 passing yards, Olomo is averaging 14.8 yards per completion this season. … Olomo is averaging a touchdown pass approximately every 7 completions. … Olomo has quarterbacked the Conway offense against top-5 opponents in back-to-back weeks against then-No. 3 North Little Rock and No. 2 Cabot. In those games, he was 34-of-51 passing for 530 yards, 6 TDs and 1 INT.

Print Headline: Conway's Omolo shines against best

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