Sophomore Garrion Curry helps Magnolia spoil Trojans’ Homecoming

Hot Springs' Ty'sean Hannah is saluted by members of the school's ROTC during Homecoming ceremonies Friday night. The Trojans lost a 52-33 shootout to Magnolia.


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Come playoff time schools in Class 5A shouldn’t take Magnolia and sophomore sensation Garrion Curry lightly.

The Panthers didn’t get to play Texarkana Arkansas High and Hot Springs Lakeside because of coronavirus issues. They were missing 10 players in last week’s lopsided loss to Camden Fairview. Eight players were still absent Friday night at Hot Springs’ Tommy Holt Stadium.

Despite the adversity, Magnolia scored 35 points and piled up more than 300 yards in the second half to rally and spoil the Trojans’ Homecoming, 52-33.

“I simply told the kids at halftime to calm down and play our style of football, particularly on offense,” said Magnolia coach Mark King.

“We really played well, and got a big game out of our sophomore back (Curry). He sort of reminds me of Barry Sanders because of the way he’s built and runs. His legs are incredibly strong, and he’s very fast.”

Magnolia’s Garrion Curry scored three touchdowns Friday night against the Trojans.

Curry scores on three big plays

Curry (5-8, 180) scored three of the Panthers’ touchdowns on big plays. Magnolia trailed 7-0 in the first quarter when Curry raced 53 yards in front of the Panthers’ sideline to tie the game. Jay todd Baker added a 30-yard field goal to put Magnolia up, 10-7.

The Trojans answered on Devin Johnson’s second touchdown of the game, and a 45-yard fumble return by Anthony Island for six points. That made it 21-10 with 2:51 left in the first half.

Less than a minute later Curry slipped out and caught a pass in the middle of the field, turning it into a 67-yard touchdown play. Baker’s kick made it 21-17 at intermission.

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Magnolia dominates second half

Magnolia (4-2) dominated the third quarter on a 4-yard scoring run by quarterback Dalen Blanchard, and a 74-yard pass play from Blanchard to Curry. Curry finished with nearly 200 yards on the ground to go with his two receptions for 141 yards.

“We’re a running football team, and Hot Springs had its safeties playing up,” said King. “We were able to throw the ball, which was probably the key for us tonight.”

Two more Magnolia touchdowns had the Panthers cruising, 45-21.

Hot Springs (3-3, 2-1) never quit playing hard. Quarterback Isaac Shelor scored on a 2-yard run with 7:45 left in the game. Shelor then completed a 72-yard touchdown pass to Kaimani Gray, after a 6-yard scoring run by Magnolia’s Kendrick Carey.

The Trojans play at Texarkana next Friday with first place in 5A South still at stake.