South Johnston bounced back from a tough conference-opening varsity football loss at Clayton last week by winning a 49-0 rout at county and Greater Neuse 3-A Conference rival West Johnston to spoil the Wildcats’ Homecoming on Friday night.
“I’m extremely proud,” said South Johnston coach Matthew Riggsbee. “I didn’t have a good feeling going into this game. We didn’t have the most focused week after that loss and it really worried me. Before the game we talked about just starting over. Clean slate. Put all of our focus and all of our energy into every individual play and they did that. But really, this win has nothing to do with this week or this season. This win has everything to do with the offseason and everything these boys have been willing to do and they do it 100 percent year-round.”
A pair of quarterbacks both had strong showings for the Trojans (5-2, 1-1 GNC). Senior Josh Schindler completed 3-of-5 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown and sophomore Chase Carroll completed 4-of-5 passes for 86 yards.
“Any time you get a chance to build some depth is huge,” Riggsbee said. “We were able to get in three quarterbacks (freshman Brayden Barefoot also played, but did not attempt a pass). That was huge for us. We’ve known it all along that Chase is a varsity quarterback as a sophomore. There’s no point of him not getting those reps, so he continues to play on Thursday nights (junior varsity) and he’s our backup on varsity. Those guys have been so on it this year. We’ve had very little mistakes at the quarterback position this year.”
Junior Jaequan Wells led the Trojans on the ground, rushing for 73 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries.
“We saw some moments of what we remember he can do (After a strong freshman year, Wells was set back by an injury in the Trojans’ 2017 season-opener) in the first three games, especially against Triton,” Riggsbee said. “After that, the ball didn’t bounce his way that much, but tonight he was able to knock that rust off and make it happen for us.”
Junior Tony Alston was an all-purpose contributor for South, with two receptions for 63 yards, a 12-yard run and a 40-yard kick return.
“He had a great first half,” Riggsbee said. “Tony Alston affects us in all three phases of the game. In special teams, offensively and defensively he’s really stepping up and I’m glad that I’ve got an entire year-and-a-half with him.”
Dylan Lambert was a perfect 7-for-7 kicking extra points, his best performance of the season.
Tony Faison ran for 58 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Jawuan Smith had three receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown and had a 14-yard run. Keyshawn Sanders had two receptions for 46 yards. Heze Bailey ran for 38 yards on five carries. Jeffrey Hannah, Jr. ran for 12 yards and a touchdown on four carries. Jaquain Smith ran for five yards and a touchdown on two carries. Kysheem Green had a one-yard run.
Antuan Snead ran for 72 yards on 22 carries to lead the Wildcats (1-7, 0-2).
Alston set the tone early by returning the opening kickoff 40 yards to give South a short field to start the game. That led to Wells scoring on a one-yard run.
After stopping West, South scored again when Schindler connected with Jawuan Smith for a 30-yard score.
After another stop, South scored 21 straight points without West’s offense taking the field. After Jaquain Smith scored on a six-yard reverse, Cody Allen recovered an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff to end the first quarter. That led to Faison scoring on a nine-yard run early in the second quarter, followed by Hannah recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, leading to a nine-yard Wells touchdown run.
“That’s what happens when you execute in all three phases,” Riggsbee said.
Wells scored again late in the second quarter on a five-yard run, with Lambert’s extra point meaning the running clock rule would be in effect in the second half.
South scored one more time early in the fourth quarter when a fumbled snap on a punt gave South the ball on the West one-yard-line, with Hannah running it in one play later.
South Johnston hosts Smithfield-Selma (1-7, 1-3) for Homecoming on Friday.