The high-scoring offense had another big night, while Garner’s defense came alive in the second half, allowing the Trojans to roll by West Johnston 62-21 Friday night.
After trading touchdowns for the first 14 minutes of play with the Wildcats, the Garner defense held West scoreless over the final 34 minutes of play.
“They started to trust each other tonight on the field and we played a little harder and better,” said Trojans coach Thurman Leach of his defense.
Garner (5-2, 1-1) held the Wildcats (2-4, 0-2) to 57 net offensive yards in the second half.
The win followed last week’s surprising loss to East Wake, a game that wasn’t mentioned once the Trojans got back to practice on Monday.
“We went back to the little things that Garner football has done for years,” Leach said. “Running the ball, sweep, trap and power.”
Junior standout Nyheim Hines provided six of Garner’s nine touchdowns on the night. He finished with 250 yards rushing on 22 carries and 97 yards receiving. Hines now has 26 touchdowns on the season.
Hines scored three touchdowns in the first half – the last a hard-to-believe one-handed catch on a wheel route in full stride from Brighton Hudson. Hines didn’t miss a step after corralling the ball and raced away for a 79-yard touchdown that put the Trojans up 28-14 with 4 minutes, 54 seconds to play in the first half.
“The two biggest mistakes we made tonight were not covering Hines in the flat and letting the tight end run free,” West Johnston coach Jimmy Williams said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys who are having to play because of our numbers and injuries.”
Garner pulled away on touchdown runs of 47 and 2 yards by Hines in the third quarter to go up 41-14. West Johnston, which had six players out with concussions and added at least one more to that list Friday, got its only score of the second half when Brandon Baucom picked up a fumble and ran 43 yards for a touchdown to get within 41-21 with 10:43 to play in the game.
But a 51-yard kickoff return by Raekwon Britton set up a one-play, 47-yard touchdown run by Hines that pushed the lead back out to four touchdowns.
Jaykwon Harris added 87 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Garner, which piled up 425 yards rushing.
West Johnston matched Garner’s first two scores. After Hines went in from a yard out to cap the game’s first drive, Cody Murdock raced around the right end against a Garner blitz up the middle for a 49-yard run.
The teams traded fumbled-away bad snaps – West Johnston’s Kareem Hairston and Garner’s Benji Martin on the recoveries – before Hines bounced outside, stiff-armed the last defender in his way on an 38-yard touchdown run. West came right back with a 43-yard touchdown run by Tre Frederick to even things at 14 on the third play of the second quarter.