West Johnston figures to be in the race for the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference title this season and returns a bevy of talented seniors on its roster, so it needed little help Friday night as the Wildcats hosted soon-to-be conference opponent Smithfield-Selma in the season opener.
Help is what the Wildcats received though and the experienced football team took advantage of it in rolling to a 45-0 win.
West Johnston scored four touchdowns in the first quarter alone, with each scoring drive starting deep in Spartans territory thanks to one Spartans’ turnover, a six-yard punt and two bad snaps on other punt attempts.
Andre Wilson and Tony Mack converted two of those possessions into scores with rushing touchdowns and Wilson found Justin Ferrell and Michael Holloway on a pair of touchdown receptions.
“We talked about it all week in that if we had short fields, we had to finish and for the most part, they did,” West Johnston coach Jimmy Williams said. “Smithfield-Selma has got some good coaches and they’re building but we just happen to have a senior-led varsity team and it showed tonight.”
Immediately after West Johnston’s initial drive of the game ended with a fumble, Quinton Brown got the ball right back for the Wildcats with an interception on Smithfield-Selma’s ensuing play from scrimmage. West Johnston capitalized two plays later when Andre Wilson went untouched on a 13-yard keeper for the 7-0 lead.
THREE TO KNOW
Andre Wilson, West Johnston: Wilson was a near perfect 6-for-7 in the air for the Wildcats as he finished his night, albeit early, with 96 yards passing and two touchdowns and the one rushing score.
Quinton Brown, West Johnston: Brown’s interception early in the first quarter gave the ball to West Johnston inside the red zone. Brown also recovered a Smithfield-Selma fumble and ran it back for a 37-yard touchdown return.
Defensive Line, West Johnston: Connor Denning, Zack Lassiter, Victor Mitchell and Jon Rose shut down Smithfield-Selma’s preferred mode of travel.
“They’re really good football players,” said Williams. “We’ve got as good a defense as we’ve ever had here at West Johnston.”
BY THE NUMBERS
15: Plays that ended for loss for the Spartans in the first half alone.
9: Points accounted for by West Johnston kicker Zach Wharton as the senior was a perfect 6-for-6 on extra points in addition to nailing a 21-yard field goal in the second quarter.
6: Number of receivers who caught a pass from Andre Wilson as the senior quarterback did a good job spreading the wealth.
19: Most yards gained on a single play by the Spartans for the game, on a Ziggy Durogene run.
3: First downs for Smithfield-Selma for the game.
THEY SAID IT
“We made mistakes and we had to play good football and we had to play mistake-free football and we didn’t,” Smithfield-Selma coach Wes Hill said. “It’s okay though; we’ll get better because everything that happened wrong tonight can get fixed.”