Back-to-back shutouts haven’t been common for West Johnston football.
But the Wildcats accomplished the feat on Friday night at Avery Stadium.
Tony Mack rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns and the Wildcat defense got two touchdowns of its own in a 35-0 win over South Johnston.
West, a member of the Greater Neuse River 4A, had beaten Smithfield-Selma – like South a member of the Two Rivers 3A – in its season opener last week.
South, which had crushed Franklinton 61-22 in its opening game, dropped to 1-1 under first-year coach Matthew Riggsbee.
South had beaten West 17-13 last season.
“I feel like our defense is pretty sound,” West coach Jimmy Williams said. “They have a lot of players we were really concerned about, but we felt like if we could keep them penned up we could control them. We know we beat a good football team soundly tonight. Two shutouts in a row are really important to us. Our defensive coaching staff has done a great job.”
After struggling to move the ball in the first 12 minutes, the Wildcats took control with 21 quick points in the second quarter.
Mack bulled in from five yards out with 8:42 left in the period to complete a 10-play, 83-yard drive.
And then after the Trojans went three-and-out and were charged with fair catch interference, Mack scampered in from 35 yards out two plays later to make it 13-0 at 5:47.
“We started off a little slow, but the O-line opened things up and we didn’t stop,” Mack said. “And our defense was incredible tonight, man. They made some beautiful tackles.”
Then just two plays into South’s next possession, Timare Robinson stepped in front of a Landen Lockamy pass and returned it 35 yards to the end zone. Andre Wilson hit Jimmy Sidney on the conversion pass and it was 21-0 with 4:54 left in the half.
West scored a pair of bookend touchdowns in the third, with Wilson scoring from five yards out at 10:31 and Josh Long recovering a fumble in the end zone at 1:03.
“My defensive line just set me up for that one with their pressure,” said the senior linebacker Long, who scored his first career TD. “After the first quarter we did a good job of protecting the edge, coming downhill, hitting them hard and wrapping them up.”
Robinson’s 35-yard interception return for a TD to give the Wildcats a three-touchdown lead.
THEY SAID IT
“I liked the way our defense played in the first quarter,” said South coach Riggsbee. “We’ve just got to get in better shape. We were not the best-conditioned team on the field. We knew they were good up front defensively. But we’ve still got some great weapons. We can’t let this one defeat us, because it’s not a conference game.”
THREE TO KNOW
Tony Mack, RB, West Johnston. The 5-7 senior carried just nine times but for 147 yards.
Caeleb Robinson, RB, South Johnston. The senior was the Trojans’ workhorse as he picked up 134 yards on 20 carries.
“We’re all dedicated and didn’t give up,” Robinson said. “We just need to keep pushing and fighting and working harder. West Johnston is a really good team, and their defense really swarmed us. We just have to keep getting better.”
Joey Lama, RB, West Johnston. The senior had 14 carries for 51 yards.
BY THE NUMBERS
0: Total South rushing yards not from Robinson.
1: The number of first downs each team had in the scoreless first quarter.
64: The longest run from Mack, a non-scoring jaunt on his final rush of the night.
66: Total yardage from South QB DeParis Patterson, second highest on his team.
92: The total number of passing yards for the game.
247: Rushing yards by West.
South visits county rival Clayton on Thursday night in the first of three straight road games.
West’s next game is at Cleveland on Sept. 9.