Conway jumps on Catholic early

Posted: October 28, 2017 at 3:05 a.m.

Conway kept itself within range of a possible share of the 7A-Central Conference championship with a 31-0 victory over Little Rock Catholic on Friday night at War Memorial Stadium.

Conway (7-2, 5-1) kept Catholic (3-6, 1-5) from crossing midfield until the third quarter, outgaining the Rockets 513-104 in total offense.

Senior quarterback Andrew Hreha was of 17 of 26 for 294 yards passing with 3 touchdowns, and senior running back Michael George led all rushers with 181 yards on 21 carries, including a 51-yard touchdown run.

With one week left in the season, Conway will host Bryant on Nov. 3 before embarking on its eighth consecutive postseason run.

[HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCOREBOARD: Full results + recaps, photos and more]

"Just keep trying to get better," Conway Coach Clint Ashcraft said. "Everything's in front of us. The kids just need to keep working hard, keep playing hard."

Conway scored two touchdowns on its first six offensive plays.

Hreha completed a 48-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Will McKenna on the fifth play of the game, and George broke free on his 51-yard zone-read run to the left side of the field immediately after Catholic punted after its first possession.

Catholic defenders struggled to tackle George, who broke 5 tackles as he recorded 90 yards on 8 carries during the first quarter.

"Mike's having a good year," Ashcraft said of George, who now has 1,578 yards on the season. "He runs really hard. Real strong kid. He's real tough to bring down."

McKenna was Hreha's only target until there was 4:12 left in the second quarter, catching 6 passes for 115 yards.

By then, the score was 14-0 and Hreha tossed a 13-yard pass to junior receiver Nick Richmond. Three plays later, Conway turned the ball over on downs at the Catholic 27.

Catholic totaled just 58 total yards of offense during the first half and mustered just three first downs.

The Rockets' first drive ended after a holding call and two Conway sacks on senior quarterback Jake James forced the team to punt.

Catholic's offense followed up with three consecutive three and outs, which set up another Conway score with 56 seconds left in the first half.

Conway's Hreha connected with a wide-open Richmond for a 60-yard touchdown to make the halftime score 21-0.

Richmond caught a 32-yard touchdown pass during the third quarter, two plays after a defender tore his jersey.

"He's a matchup problem outside for sure," Ashcraft said.

Catholic found most of its offensive success from junior running back Samy Johnson, who had 17 carries for 76 yards.

Johnson's 23-yard run in the third quarter pushed the Rockets into Conway territory for the first time, which set up a a 54-yard field goal attempt from senior Chris Elser that had the distance but went wide right.

Catholic entered the game tied with four teams at the bottom of 7A-Central, and a victory would have helped separate them for one of the six playoff spots.

Now, Catholic's final game against Central on Thursday will decide what happens next to the Rockets.

"Seems like the past four years it's come down to the last week for us," Catholic Coach John Fogleman said. "We've managed to find a way in, and we're going to have to find a way to do that again."

Sports on 10/28/2017