Triton picked up a much-needed varsity football win on Wednesday night, winning 56-27 at nonconference rival South Johnston.
“That’s huge,” said Triton coach Ben Penny. “Coming off of a short week. Coming off of a heartbreaking loss in weak one and not really recovering before going down to South View and taking one on the chin, this is huge. I’m proud of our guys. We needed this.”
South Johnston coach Matthew Riggsbee said his young team had numerous self-inflicted wounds.
“We fumbled the opening kickoff and then we fumbled after a big run,” Riggsbee said. “Or any time after we had a big pass play or run, we had a block in the back or a hold bring it back. We’re doing this to ourselves. We’re an extremely young team right now. We’re counting heavily on about six sophomores right now that are all starting and playing a lot and a bunch of juniors. We do have a good senior class, but even in that senior class we have guys that didn’t play four years of football or never played varsity. We’re going through some growing pains right now because of how young we are, but we’re going to be OK. We’re going to make it through this.”
The game was moved up to Wednesday because of the impending arrival of Hurricane Dorian.
The Trojans (0-3) had no answer for the running game of the Hawks (1-2), led by senior Ro’mello Cowan, who ran for 243 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries, and senior Travion Sanders, who ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries.
“Two seniors right there that know how much this game means, not only to them and their careers, but our school and our community,” Penny said. “They’ve played in it for four years, they understand it. They’re playing well right now. Both of them are. Offensive line’s playing well right now.”
J.P. Petoletti completed his lone pass attempt to Dylan Smith for a 68-yard touchdown and ran for a one-yard touchdown. Malachi Batts had an 18-yard run. Myjalik Giles ran for 12 yards on four carries.
Triton failed to score on only two of its 10 possessions in the contest, one of which was due to the Hawks running out the clock at the end of the game, and was never forced to punt.
“It’s not good when you don’t know what their punt team looks like,” Riggsbee said.
On defense, senior Myshon Smith had two takeaways for the Hawks, a fumble recovery and an interception.
“Myshon took a year off last year and he’s been a little bit behind,” Penny said. “He needed tonight and he played well tonight. He came up with two big turnovers for us and we’re excited to see what he’s going to do going forward, getting back to his old self.”
Junior Chase Carroll was 11-of-18 passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception, and ran for 14 yards on three carries. Senior Tony Alston had six receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown for the Trojans.
Jaydn McNeill had a 65-yard touchdown reception. Jaequan Wells ran for 60 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries and had two receptions for eight yards. Brayden Barefoot had a 24-yard reception. Keyshawn Sanders had a nine-yard run and a two-yard reception. Damonte Burgess ran for eight yards on three carries.
South fumbled on the opening kickoff and Triton capitalized with Cowan scoring on a 21-yard run. The extra point was blocked.
South answered with a nine-yard touchdown run from Green, with Dylan Lambert making the extra point, and, following Cody Allen returning a blocked field goal to the Triton 14-yard-line, took the lead on a one-yard run from Wells, but the extra point missed.
After Cowan scored on a 72-yard run, and ran for the two-point conversion, Triton fully took the momentum when Myshon Smith recovered a fumble. Triton capitalized with Sanders scoring on a 20-yard run.
The two touchdowns started Triton on a stretch of 29 unanswered points and the Hawks never held less than a two-score lead the rest of the game.
South Johnston travels to Franklinton and Triton is at home against Green Hope on Sept. 13.