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Conway sophomore QB finds his groove

by Mitchell Gladstone | September 11, 2021 at 2:38 a.m.

CONWAY -- After the final horn sounded Friday night, a mass of Conway blue swarmed over toward the west side of John McConnell Stadium, climbing up toward the bleachers to celebrate with the Wampus Cat student section.

Senior Manny Smith and junior Boogie Carr were in the sea of players, but it was a familiar feeling for the Conway veterans. Not so much for sophomore quarterback Donovyn Omolo.

Omolo, making his home varsity debut, was steady throughout the evening, completing 23 of his 36 pass attempts for 355 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Wampus Cats eased past Jonesboro 42-25. Smith made Omolo's life easy as the University of Central Arkansas commit hauled in nine of his quarterback's passes for 154 yards and a pair of scores.

The southpaw gunslinger almost snuck past a reporter as he headed for the locker room, but Smith made sure he didn't get away that easily.

"It feels good," Omolo said of his first win in Conway. "The atmosphere is crazy, the fans are good. ... It was everything I expected."

He probably didn't expect the night's opening touchdown to go the way it did. Trailing 3-0 after the Hurricane kicked a field goal on their opening series, Omolo slung a pass well downfield, looking to hit Carr over the middle.

When a Jonesboro defender climbed over his receiver's back, though -- drawing a pass interference flag -- the ball deflected up into the air before landing in Clay Fisher's hands. The junior wide receiver did the rest of the work, shoving off a Hurricane before reaching the end zone for the night's opening touchdown.

Jonesboro (1-2) hung tight throughout the first half, getting its only offense from a pair of Tenison Roscoe field goals when the Hurricane offense twice reached the Wampus Cat 10-yard-line but failed to score.

And Conway (2-1) made sure to pounce right before half, going 50 yards in just 18 seconds on three passes from Omolo, capped by a 19-yard catch-and-run over the middle by Smith.

"You can see [Omolo] understanding what we want on offense," Wampus Cat Coach Keith Fimple said. "He does a really good job distributing and balling and making plays when things aren't there -- he's got great legs to run and take off and he's a bigger kid. We've been real proud of him."

The Hurricane leaned on junior running back Brock McCoy with senior quarterback Rykar Acebo struggling to find much rhythm at any point. McCoy finished with 30 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown, but his lone fumble set up Conway's penultimate score, putting the hosts up 35-18 with 10:30 remaining and all but salting away the win.

Acebo completed 19 of 33 passes with a pair of touchdowns, yet like McCoy, his turnover -- a fourth-quarter interception -- gave the hosts the ball just 10 yards from the end zone.

Carr scored on the very next play.

Friday was an overwhelmingly positive showing for the Wampus Cats, capping a brutal non-conference slate. Although Fimple was displeased with some of their mistakes and penalties, his Conway team emerged with a winning record from a three-week stretch that included back-to-back road trips to northwest Arkansas and victory against two talented sides in Bentonville and Jonesboro.

And as much as the Wampus Cat offense has been steady, averaging better than 40 points per game, they got a taste of what happens when the defense steps it up at the same time.

"We can rely on them," Smith said of his defensive counterparts. "I've got so much faith in them. I'd put them up against any offense in the state."

Print Headline: Conway sophomore QB finds his groove


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