Bearcats Surge by Hudson’s Bay
Coming Out Party: Quarterback Josiah Johnson Accounts for Five W.F. West Touchdowns
By Jordan Nailon
Coming into Friday night the Bearcats were sitting at 1-1 with a one point victory over River Ridge and a 20-point loss to Capital leaving W.F. West fans wondering just what kind of team they are rooting for this year. Thanks to a 46-14 victory over Hudson’s Bay in non-league play the Bearcats helped put to bed any lingering questions about whether or not they will be a serious team to contend with this year.
Leading the charge for the Bearcats was Josiah Johnson, making just his third start as a starting varsity quarterback. Johnson collected the vast majority of his yards in the first half and finished with a stat line that would make most signal callers jealous. In total Johnson connected on half of his 28 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 45 yards and a pair of touchdowns. That output helped W.F. West amass a 38-0 lead by halftime and pushed the game into running clock territory with a 40-point lead halfway through the third period.
“I felt like tonight was his best game so far,” said W.F. West coach Dan Hill. “He definitely played well tonight.”
Johnson’s first scoring pass of the night was a 24-yard corner route that Leandre Gaines corralled as he went out the side of the endzone. After a pair of encroachment penalties on Hudson’s Bay the Bearcats sent in the elephant squad and and Gaines was able to pound the ball into the endzone on a short rush for two points. That score was set up several plays earlier when Hill called for a fake punt and Gaines connected with Jett Bowers on a 42-yard pass.
Later in the first quarter Johnson scored on a 2-yard rush that was set up by big bursts of yardage from running back Lafe Johnson, along with a sticky finger catch by Brennan Carver and then a body-control catch along the sideline by Troy Yarter for a 34-yard gain down inside the five yard line.
In the second quarter Johnson broke loose for another scoring run, this time a 30-yard saunter, before going back to the air. One possession after a 27-yard field goal by Bryce Laufenberg that pushed the Bearcats lead to 25-0 Johnson connected with Gaines on a 60-yard scoring strike over the middle that saw Gaines spin out of a pair of tackles and then run away from the pack for the touchdown. Then, just before halftime Johnson tossed a screen pass to Lafe Johnson (no relation) for a 17-yard touchdown.
“I felt good. There were some good throws at the beginning to get rolling and then the defense had some good stops. Leandre made some good plays. Troy made some good plays, and it was just an all around good game,” said Josiah Johnson. “At practice we were more serious and we had a good attitude going into this game. Then we were able to get three or four yards per run, which is a big deal, and it opened up the air.”
Gaines led W.F. West with 105 receiving yards and two touchdowns, but several other Bearcats got their paws on passes from Johnson on the evening. Namely, Carver Brennan caught three passes for 40 yards, Kaelin Hazen caught three passes for 43 yards, Max Taylor caught two passes for 40 yards and Troy Yarter reeled in two heaves for 37 yards.
“We have a lot of good receivers. A lot of threats. It’s good that if somebody gets knocked out we have more guys who can replace them,” noted Johnson.
As for the secret to throwing to Gaines, who is listed at 6’2” and 252 pounds?
“Just get it there. He can make a play on almost anybody,” said Johnson.
While the offense drew the loudest cheers on the evening it was the W.F. West defense that really took the fight out of the Eagles as they were able to gain only 168 yards of total offense and five first downs on the night. Conversely, the Bearcats put up 414 total yards and collected 18 first downs along the way.
“Our front three did a tremendous job. Chase Conaway, Leandre Gaines and Trent Peters did a tremendous job in the first half just slowing that run game down because they had some big guys in the backfield,” said Hill of his defense. Aaron Fuller also contributed an interception for W.F. West.
In the second half the Eagles were finally able to prick the Bearcats with an 81-yard touchdown pass form Parke Marsh to Joshua McDonald but W.F. West answered right back in short order with an eight yard touchdown run by Max Taylor followed by a two-point pass from Johnson to Jacob McCarthy.
Hill credited his team’s big bounce back this week to an efficient week of practice and a few changes to their offensive and defensive schemes.
“We spread the field more this game and created a little bit more spacing to help ourselves out. We kind of got a little tight last week,” said Hill.
Specifically, Hill said his team came in intent to find success in the air versus the Eagles.
“We knew they were going to load the box up on us and we knew that throwing was going to have to be a big part of our game plan tonight, and we worked a ton on pass protection,” said Hill. “Our offensive line takes a lot of pride in protecting our quarterback.”
W.F. West (2-1) will travel to Washougal next Friday.
BEARCATS 46, EAGLES 14
Hudson’s Bay 0 0 6 8 — 14
W.F. West 15 23 8 0 — 46
WFW — Josiah Johnson 23-yard pass to Leandre Gaines; Gaines run
WFW — Johnson 2-yard run; Bryce Laufenberg kick good
WFW — Johnson 30-yard run; Bryce Laufenberg kick good
WFW — Bryce Laufenberg 27-yard field goal
WFW — Johnson 60-yard pass to Gaines; Bryce Laufenberg kick
WFW — Johnson 17-yard pass to Lafe Johnson; kick no good
HB — Parker Marsh 82-yard pass to Joshua McDonald; kick failed
WFW — Max Taylor 8-yard run; Johnson pass to Jacob McCarthy
HB — Marsh 5-yard run; Marsh pass to McDonald
Team Stats HB WFW
First Downs 5 18
Rushing Yards 30 132
Passing Yards 138 282
Total Yards 168 414
Comp-Att-Int 6-13-1 15-29-0
Fumbles/Lost 1/0 1/0
Penalties/Yards 8/52 6/49
Rushing: HB — Akilotoa Kaumatule 7/23; WFW — Lafe Johnson 14/60, Josiah Johnson 5/45/2
Passing: HB — Parker Marsh 6-12/138; WFW — Josiah Johnson 14-28/240
Receiving: HB — Joshua McDonald 3/91/1; WFW — Leandre Gaines 4/105/2, Carver Brennan 3/40, Kaelin Hazen 3/43, Max Taylor 2/40, Troy Yarter 2/37