Tigers cap region sweep with win over Panthers

The Conway High football team completed its sweep through Region 6-5A play Friday night, using a strong second-half surge to beat rival Carolina Forest 42-21 at The Backyard.

The No. 4-ranked Tigers (9-1 overall) broke open a close first half by rattling off 35 unanswered points – 28 of them in the second half. Four different Tigers had second-hslf touchdown runs, including a dazzling opening series by Rakim Bellamy. He made two nice runs on the drive, including a 9-yard TD run that put the Tigers on top for good.

Quarterback D’Wuan Grainger, who threw a 14-yard TD pass to Pooh Brantley in the first half that was set up by a Noah Freshley interception, ran one in the third quarter on a score made possible by Conway’s Moody brothers. Jaylen Moody’s interception hatled a Panthers’ drive into the red zone, and Juwon Moody broke a reserve to set the table for Grainger. Xayvier Kinlaw capped the 35-point burst with an 8-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter.

Carolina Forest (5-5, 2-3) looked impressive in the first half, using a pair of Conway fumbles to take a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. Derek Alston caught a 4-yard TD pass from Matt Beale, and Beale scored on a sneak after his 40-yard bomb to Shawn Mallo put the Panthers in position to take their only lead of the game, but the Tigers tied it up at the half on Brantley’s TD grab just before the half. Backup QB Mason Garcia threw a late 30-yard TD to Mallo to cap the scoring.

Both teams advance to the playoffs as Conway plays host to a team to Wando on Friday in a rematch of a regular season win for the Tigers. Carolina Forest will travel to Lexington.

Photo by Chuck Silvey

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