The most important two-week period in the 14-year history of the West Johnston High School football program got off to a pretty ideal start Friday night. The seventh-ranked Wildcats, in search of their first conference championship and their first unbeaten regular season, thumped rival Clayton 48-0 to move to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the Greater Neuse River 4A Conference.
Up next is an Oct. 28 showdown with longtime Greater Neuse River 4A Conference stalwart Garner (8-1, 5-0), the N&O’s third-ranked team.
West, as usual, rode the production of standout senior running back Tony Mack and quarterback Andre Wilson on the ground.
Mack ran for 170 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns, while Wilson had 109 yards rushing on 11 carries and a matching pair of TDs. West raced out to a 35-0 lead in the first 18 minutes of play.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
“We started off great, came out and executed our plan and jumped on them early,” Mack said. “We just stuck to the things we worked on this week.”
They said it
“Everyone on the offensive line was outstanding tonight,” said West coach Jimmy Williams. “They controlled the game against a team with some big young’uns. And Tony was just spectacular tonight. You’d have trouble tackling him in a phone booth tonight.”
Three to know (Times 2)
Dawson Jackson, West Johnston: The Wildcats’ tight end.
Mitchell Gray, West Johnston: The Wildcats’ left tackle.
Johnny Rose, West Johnston: The Wildcats’ left guard.
Buck Williams, West Johnston: The Wildcats’ center.
Connor Scott Denning, West Johnston: The Wildcats’ right guard.
Nick Hesse, West Johnston: The Wildcats’ right tackle.
This six-some, which will square off against Garner’s talented defensive line next time out, controlled the game early, giving Wilson and Mack plenty of running room. West ran for 266 yards in the first half.
One of the more memorable solo blocks of the night was Rose’s downfield splattering of a Clayton defensive back that popped Wilson free for a 34-yard TD run on West’s first drive of the night.
By the numbers
80: Offensive yards on the night for the Comets against West, which has given up just 70 points all season.
10: The jersey number standout Clayton junior receiver Devin Carter will see in his sleep. That’s the number of West safety Timare Robinson, who followed Carter from side to side. Carter didn’t have a catch Friday night. He entered the game with 1,001 yards receiving and 61 catches this season.
98: Scoring differential for Clayton and its opponents — West and Garner — the past two weeks, which brought a six-game Comet win streak to a harsh end.
8: The number of wins that Clayton can still achieve this season. The Comets can finish 8-3 (5-2 in conference) — with wins over Rolesville and Southeast Raleigh — and enter the 4A playoffs with a probable decent seeding, maybe even high enough to get a first-round home game.
So there’s plenty of incentive for the Comets to keep battling and find a way out of their slump.
Best: 919-524-8895; @dclaybest