DARDANELLE -- The only number Connor Reece was definitely sure about Friday night was six.
It was the number of touchdown passes Shiloh Christian's senior quarterback threw as he led the Saints to a whopping 49-28 victory over Dardanelle during Class 4A state playoff quarterfinal action at Keenan Field.
Shiloh Christian 49, Dardanelle 28
Shiloh — Berus 12 pass from Reece (Williams kick), 7:36.
Shiloh — Thomson 41 pass from Reece (Williams kick). 5:12.
Shiloh — Thomson 5 pass from Reece (Williams kick), 2:49.
Shiloh — Goodsole 65 fumble recovery (Williams kick), 7:41.
Dard — Metcalf 17 pass from Carter (Martinez kick), 2:52.
Shiloh — Berus 72 pass from Reece (Williams kick), 2:02.
Shiloh — Russ 40 pass from Reece (Williams kick), 1:40.
Dard — Metcalf 37 pass from Carter (Martinez kick), 0:49.
Shiloh — Russ 13 pass from Reece (Williams kick), 0:01.
Dard — Carter 9 run (Martinez kick), 9:33.
Dard — Chambers 6 run (Martinez kick), 4:13.
Reece stood on the sidelines for the second half, but his services weren't needed. He was more than effective in the opening 24 minutes as he completed 18 of 21 passes for 427 yards and six touchdowns, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jaret Russ with one second before halftime to give Shiloh Christian (11-2) a 49-14 cushion.
"Our coaches did an awesome job of getting us ready," Reece said. "They had a great game plan, and we went out and just executed. The only number I knew about was the six. That one, I could keep count of."
Reece made sure everybody was involved with the offense as he hit five different receivers. Three Shiloh Christian players finished the game with five receptions -- two of them with more than 100 yards receiving -- and a trio of Saints each finished with a pair of touchdown receptions.
Shiloh Christian, however, had to start its opening possession on its 9 after Dardanelle (10-3) lined up for what appeared to a 65-yard field-goal attempt, but the kick was intended to go out of bounds like a punt. The Saints gained just 4 yards on their first play, but they scored seven plays later when Reece connected with Broc Berus on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 7 minutes, 36 seconds left in the first quarter.
"I think that's two weeks in a row we've had to go 90 yards," Reece said. "But if we have to go 90 yards, then we'll go 90 yards. Our coaches always put us in the best spot to just execute."
Reece later hit Blake Thomson with touchdown passes of 41 and 5 yards to extend Shiloh Christian's lead to 21-0 before the first quarter ended, then the Saints' defense became involved in the scoring. Dardanelle had the ball inside Shiloh Christian territory after recovering a fumble and had first-and-10 at the Saints 31 when quarterback Elyas Carter threw what was ruled a lateral that eluded Dakota Rowland.
The ball was headed for the Sand Lizards' sideline, but not before Josh Goodsole grabbed the ball on the bounce and headed the other way. Goodsole raced 65 yards untouched for a touchdown, extending Shiloh Christian's lead to 28-0 with 2:52 before halftime.
It was one of five touchdowns scored before the first half ended as Carter threw touchdown passes of 17 and 37 yards to Jordan Metcalf. Reece, however, was even better as he hit Berus with a 72-yard touchdown strike, then added a 40-yard scoring pass to Jaret Russ before hitting Russ to close out the first half.
"Man, he did an excellent job," Shiloh Christian coach Jeff Conaway said of Reece. "Once again, he distributed the football. We teach our QBs they have to make great decisions, and they have to be accurate with the football. This was a prime example of a young man who bought into that system and played about as well as you could possibly play.
"We have some weapons on our offense that did a great job making plays. We talk about making explosive plays through the air and in the run game. We protected him, and that was one of the keys because we knew Dardanelle was going to get after the QB. Even though Connor played well, it took everybody."
Russ finished with five catches for 137 yards and two scores, while Jake Nelson added five catches for 128 yards and Thomson five receptions for 65 yards and two touchdowns for Shiloh Christian, which travels to Pea Ridge next week and guarantees there will be at least one 4A-1 Conference team in Little Rock for the Class 4A state championship.
Sports on 11/26/2016
Print Headline: Reece, Saints pass by Sand Lizards in rout