One week after suffering a narrow loss at home against Princeton, South Johnston’s varsity football team rebounded with a 28-14 win at rival Triton Friday.
“We knew we had something special with this senior group,” said South Johnston coach Lee Webb. “I call them my ‘COVID babies.’ They came together as freshmen, 26 strong, and were playing both ways as freshmen and winning one or two games. But these guys, they’ve worked their tails off. That’s a good Triton team and we knew it was going to be a battle.”
Triton coach Ben Penny said the Hawks made too many mistakes in the game.
“Back it up two weeks, I told these guys that ‘Only Triton can beat Triton,’” Penny said. “That’s what happened tonight: Triton beat Triton. I’m not taking anything away from South Johnston. They capitalized on it. A well-coached football team is going to capitalize on your mistakes. I can’t remember a game in the last 20 years that we had that many penalties and put the ball on the ground that much. We’ve got to grow up a little bit.”
Senior Riley Adams completed 11-of-18 passes for 128 yards, with two interceptions, and ran for 18 yards on seven carries, senior Aiden Williams ran for 74 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries and had a five-yard reception, and senior Connor Lee had three receptions for 72 yards and ran for 13 yards on three carries to lead the Trojans (1-1).
Kalib Brown had three receptions for 35 yards, Donell Lawson, Jr. had two receptions for 14 yards. Alex Lee ran for six yards on two carries.
The Hawks (1-1) were led by their trio of senior running backs. J.J. Cowan ran for 100 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, A.J. Dewar ran for 71 yards on 10 carries and Camauri McDougald ran for 60 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries and had a 25-yard reception.
Alan Hinson completed 1-of-5 passes for 25 yards, with two interceptions, and Ahmad Morris ran for nine yards on three carries.
With both offenses struggling to find the end zone, it was South’s defense that put the first points on the board early in the second quarter when Jaekob Robinson recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown.
“When I got to the backfield and I knocked the ball out of his hands, I was like, ‘Just pick it up, Jaekob,’” Robinson said. “‘Don’t lose it.’ And then nobody was around me, so I just started running and I was praying like, ‘Please score. Please score.’ That was the only thing that was on my mind. Then when they blew that whistle and gave the TD signal, I was like, ‘Thank God! But now I’ve got to get ready for the next series.’”
Triton responded with Cowan scoring on a 42-yard run on the ensuing drive.
The Trojans put another defensive touchdown on the board late in the second quarter when Ty Strickland recovered a fumble in the end zone.
South’s offense found the end zone for the first time midway through the third quarter when Williams scored on a one-yard run.
Triton made it a one-score game again late in the third on an 11-yard McDougald run.
South put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter when Williams scored again on an eight-yard run.
South Johnston travels to Corinth Holders (1-1) on Thursday night and Triton is at home against Sanderson (2-0) on Friday night.