2A Football: Bearcats Follow Johnson’s Lead in Rout of Capital
Signal Caller: W.F. West Quarterback Accounts for Six Scores in 47-29 Win Over Cougars
By Jordan Nailon
W.F. West looked poised to run away with things right out of the gate here Friday night as they played host to Capital for their home opener on the gridiron. Then things went off the rails, if only for a minute.
On their first drive of the night the Bearcats picked up first downs on their first five plays from scrimmage and found themselves inside the 10-yard line with four downs to work with. That drive wound up going for naught, however, as their next three plays stalled out and a short field goal attempt sailed wide to the right.
Seizing on the surprise opportunity the Cougars gave the ball to Clayton Grady in the backfield on their very first play from scrimmage and watched as he ran away from everyone for an 86-yard touchdown.
Luckily for the Mint City squad the final line in football depends not so much on how you start but how you finish, and the Bearcats wound up finishing with a 47-29 victory that wasn’t nearly as close as it reads.
After falling behind momentarily W.F. West answered right back with a six play, 46-yard scoring drive propelled primarily by the pinball running style of Jaiyden Camoza. Josiah Johnson dutifully capped the drive with a one-yard quarterback keeper that brought the Bearcats within one point.
W.F. West then went on to add six unanswered touchdowns in order to run out to a 47-7 lead that mercifully allowed the clock to run continuously. Johnson said his teammates never had their confidence waver, even after their back to back misfires in the early going. Instead, they found motivation.
“We knew it was going to be a good game with those guys. We all got kind of mad right there so it just kind of clicked for us after and we didn’t stop,” said Johnson.
Accordingly, Johnson threw the Bearcats’ next two touchdowns. First it was a 30-yard pass to Max Taylor with 42 seconds left in the first quarter and then he connected with Taylor again on a 22-yard corner route with 11:12 left in the second quarter. The W.F. West senior quarterback made sure to shout out the big boys doing all the blocking up front for setting him up for so much success on the night.
“Our line was blocking everything. They couldn’t get to me and that helps as a quarterback,” Johnson pointed out.
Coming off a week one performance where he threw five interceptions but still managed to escape with a win, Johnson was happy to have redeemed himself in front of a jolly home crowd.
“I put a lot of work in after that performance I had last week so I was ready to roll,” Johnson said. “We started working Sunday. Coach Hill texted me and said we’re just going to dink and dunk these guys until they bring it up and then we’re going to throw it long.”
While Max Taylor was his favorite target on the day, Johnson extolled the talents of the entirety of the Bearcats’ deep receiver corps.
“It’s really nice. I’ve got a really fast guy. A really big guy. A guy who has great hands and a guy who runs great routes,” he said.
Johnson finished the first half with 89 yards rushing and three touchdowns along with a two-point conversion via run. He also converted 9-of-16 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor caught five of those first half passes for 85 yards and two scores.
W.F. West coach Dan Hill said he never lost faith in his quarterback and felt confident coming into Friday’s matchup that Johnson would bounce back strong.
“Last week was a fluke. Even after he threw his fourth (interception) we were still going to throw the ball. I have all the confidence in the world in him,” Hill insisted. “He finally found that Friday night groove and he’s going to keep it going.”
The Bearcats rounded out their first half performance with a three yard touchdown run from Johnson, a 13-yard run by Jayden Camoza, and a two-yard plunge from Johnson with just two seconds left in the second quarter.
After kicking off to start the second half the Bearcats held strong on defense and let Camoza run it in from eight yards out to engage the running clock mercy rule. Camoza finished with around 200 yards rushing and two scores in just over one half of action. As a result, Hill was boasting a smile as big as any football coach will ever let slip during the postgame festivities.
“I’m very happy with it. It was 47-7 at some point and our offense was lights out tonight,” Hill noted.
After falling behind by 40 points Capital was finally able to make some hay on offense once the Bearcats started cycling through their reserve unit on defense. Hill pointed out starters Luke Bennett and Ashton Lannoye in particular for their defensive prowess from their inside linebacker positions. Brit Lusk also came up with several big tackles in the Cougars’ backfield that helped put the Bearcats in a prime position to score.
“Defensively, when our guys were in there, we gave up the one touchdown on the one missed tackle and that was it. Our defensive game plan was solid and our guys executed great,” said Hill.
W.F. West (2-0) will play at Hudson’s Bay next Friday.
BEARCATS 47, COUGARS 29
Capital 7 0 7 15 — 29
W.F. West 14 26 7 0 — 47
CAP — Clayton Grady 86-yard run; kick good (5:20 1Q)
WFW — Josiah Johnson 1-yard run; Conversion fail (3:30 1Q)
WFW — Johnson 30-yard pass to Max Taylor; Johnson run (0:42 1Q)
WFW — Johnson 22-yard pass to Taylor; kick failed (11:12 2Q)
WFW — Johnson 3-yard run; Bryce Laufenberg kick (6:36 2Q)
WFW — Jaiyden Camoza 13-yard run; Laufenberg kick (4:25 2Q)
WFW — Johnson 2-yar run; kick fail (00;02 2Q)
WFW — Camoza 8-yard run; Laufenberg kick (8:37 3Q)
CAP — Tristan Redman 12-yard run; kick good (2:13 3Q)
CAP — Redman 65-yard pass to Troy Collard; Conversion good
CAP — Elijah Hoffman 35-yard pass to Grady Lindekugel; kick good
Team Stats CAP WFW
First Downs 14 20
Rushing Yards 154 295
Passing Yards 181 132
Total Yards 335 427
Comp-Att-Int 10-17-0 10-20-0
Fumbles/Lost 2/2 0/0
Penalties/Yards 2/11 9/70
Rushing: CAP — Clayton Grady 16/126; WFW — Jaiyden Camoza 18/208, Josiah Johnson 10/86
Passing: CAP — Tristan Redman 9-14/153; WFW — Josiah Johnson 10-19/132
Receiving: CAP — Troy Collard 1/65, Grady LIndekugel 2/49; WFW — Max Taylor 5/85, Leandre Gaines 3/29