South Johnston locked up third place in the Two Rivers 3A Conference – and it hopes a playoff berth as well – with a 49-6 win over Smithfield-Selma Friday night.
Coach Matthew Riggsbee’s squad won four of its last six games to finish 5-6 overall and 3-2 in conference play. The playoffs begin in two weeks. After their hot finish to the regular season, Riggsbee said he’s already wary of the bye week between Senior Night and the Trojans’ first-round game.
“It has the potential to change your momentum,” he said, noting that October is a great time for a playoff team to hit its stride.
Riggsbee has found his running back in freshman Jaquan Wells after rotating through six different backs this season. Wells scored twice against SSS while drawing attention away from senior Fabian McDonald, who had two touchdown grabs and more than 100 yards receiving.
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“It’s been a long journey this season and it’s finally just clicked,” he said. “I don’t even think we’ve peaked yet.”
South Johnston had surged to a 29-point lead in the second quarter before Smithfield-Selma (0-11, 0-5) had its first scoring opportunity: a field goal the Trojans blocked and returned to the SSS 27-yard line.
Seconds later, Wells scored his second rushing touchdown from five yard out and the extra point made it 36-0 Trojans.
Quarterback DeParis Patterson found McDonald for a 20-yard touchdown reception with 1:02 remaining in the half to make the score 43-0 at intermission. Patterson also rushed for three touchdowns and more than 100 yards
The clock ran continuously throughout the second half, which began with new life for Smithfield-Selma after the Trojans fumbled on the first play from scrimmage deep in their own territory.
Two plays later, Antonio McDonald ran for the Spartans’ only score to make it 43-6. SSS recovered the ensuing kickoff, but that drive ended with an interception, which later led to another Trojans score.