Conley runs away in second half to beat Pam Pack

Published 11:10 pm Thursday, August 31, 2017


The Daily Reflector


GREENVILLE — Washington landed some early shots and went to halftime Thursday night very much still in its game at Conley.

As a steady drizzle settled in after halftime, so too did the Vikings, who pitched a second-half shutout and rolled to a 62-20 home victory over the Pam Pack.

Conley outscored Washington 27-0 after the break, stifling a winless Pam Pack team that had no answer for the hosts in their first trip to Conley under new head coach Jon Blank.

“Let me give credit to coach Blank and Washington,” Vikings coach Nate Conner said. “I thought in the first half, they really came out and challenged us, and it was a close game coming out of halftime. I thought they had a great defensive game plan that put us in some tough situations and they did a great job on special teams.

“I thought it was a great learning lesson for our kids. It was sloppy at times, but I’m proud of the way they adjusted at halftime, came out and played a much cleaner, much more efficient team game in the second half.”

A year after throttling Washington 44-7, it looked as if Conley might be on its way to doing the same again this season early in a game that was moved up a night because of potential inclement weather. The Vikings appeared to be off to the races after running back Isaiah Gamble returned the game’s opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown, making it 7-0 just 15 seconds in.

A touchdown pass from Holton Ahlers to Matthew Rostar on Conley’s first drive made it 14-0. Washington responded with a touchdown pass from Frederick Holsher to Quashawn Gaynor, only to get blitzed with another three straight Conley scores. Ahlers punched it in from two yards out before the Vikings took a 35-6 lead on a pair of electric plays — a 70-yard bomb from Ahlers to C.J. Johnson and a 50-yard fumble return by defensive end Blake Mizelle, who snagged the ball out of the air during a bobbled exchange and raced to the end zone.

But Washington didn’t wilt, answering Mizelle’s score with a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown by Tyshawn Roberson, then capping a seven-play, 68-yard drive on its last possession of the first half with a 2-yard touchdown run by Hykeem Ruffin to make it 35-20 going to the break.

Once the rain came, though, the Vikings seized control. Kam Weaver picked off a pass at midfield by Holsher a minute and a half into the third quarter, and Gamble scored from 14 yards out five plays later. He added a 2-yard scoring run on the next possession to make it 48-20, and Ahlers sealed it with a 10-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Andrew Pittman notched the game’s final touchdown with eight minutes left.