SSS downs South in first round

by | Nov 6, 2021 | South Johnston

Jaydn McNeill (2) is headed to the end zone for the Trojans.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

No. 18 South Johnston struggled to find its footing in a 54-14 loss at No. 15 Smithfield-Selma in the first round of the NCHSAA 3-A state football playoffs Friday.

“Our game plan was solid,” said South Johnston coach Lee Webb. “We just needed to execute. SSS is a good football team. I’m not taking anything away from them.”

Senior Paul Olive completed 6-of-14 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions, and senior Jaydn McNeill had four receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown to lead the Trojans (8-3).

Brayden Barefoot ran for 15 yards on 11 carries. Jyseim Wells ran for 14 yards and a touchdown on three carries. Brayden Fair had a six-yard reception. Zack Sellers had a four-yard reception.

South had taken a 21-14 Quad County 3-A Conference win over visiting SSS on September 17.

Senior Brandon Perry ran for four touchdowns and senior George Brewer threw three touchdowns, all to senior Clevonte Watson, who also ran for a touchdown for the Spartans (8-3).

Webb praised his outgoing seniors for their leadership in his first year as head coach.

“What I’m happy about is the seniors got us to where we are right now,” Webb said. “Nobody thought at the beginning of this season that we would be where we are. And it’s because of the leadership of these seniors and the underclassmen stepping in and following and coming out on top. We had a lot of injuries leading up to this game and so we had a lot of young guys playing that stepped up and they did a great job.”

The Spartans scored 47 unanswered points before South finally found the end zone early in the fourth quarter on a 45-yard Olive-to-McNeill pass. Olive ran for two.

After Watson scored for Smithfield-Selma on the ensuing drive, South scored one more time late in the fourth on a seven-yard Wells run.

Webb believes what South Johnston achieved this season set a foundation for future success for the program.

“We’re very excited,” Webb said. “We only had one guy that we had to move up (from junior varsity), so all our guys from JV are coming up and we’re excited about those guys. It’s a good foundation to build. We kept a lot of guys down that we could have moved up on JV and our JV was successful.”

Jyseim Wells is on his way to score for South Johnston.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

South’s Brayden Fair (7) makes a tackle for a loss on Friday night.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

SJ’s Paul Olive completes a pass in the first round of the playoffs.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)

Lucas Layman (32) pursues the SSS quarterback for a sack.
(Dunn Area Sports Photo/John Lucas)


“For The Boys”

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John Lucas