JOHNSON CREEK — Johnson Creek dominated from start to finish rolling to a lopsided 56-6 victory over Deerfield in the 2019 Trailways Small Conference opener played at Glover Field Friday night.
The Bluejays (3-0 overall, 1-0) came into the game ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press Small Schools Poll, and they showed the Demons (0-3, 0-1) why by scoring touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams.
“Our goal was to come out and play physical right from the start,” said Bluejays coach Tim Wagner. “I know they’re a little banged up right now and they had a couple of turnovers, and we took advantage of them.”
Johnson Creek ran just 17 offensive plays.
“I think we ran only about eight or nine plays the entire first half,” Wagner said.
The Bluejays took the opening kickoff and needed just four plays to take a 7-0 lead, as senior Justin Swanson hit junior Wyatt Owen in stride for a 43-yard score.
The first of four turnovers came on the very next drive when Swanson snagged a third down Tyler Haak pass near midfield and returned it all the way to the 2-yard line. Swanson capped off the short drive with a quarterback sneak, and the Bluejays led 14-0 just 3 ½ minutes into the game.
A big special teams play set up Johnson Creek’s next score when junior Sam Toebe blocked Reily Bonjour’s punt giving the Bluejays possession at the Demons’ 25-yard line. Two plays later senior Alex Garza punched it in from 12 yards out and the Creek lead grew to 21-0.
Two more turnovers set up two more Johnson Creek touchdowns before the end of the first quarter. Swanson intercepted his second pass with a diving catch at the 20, and on the very next play hit Skylor Griffiths with an 80-yard strike.
The next turnover turned into a touchdown, when senior cornerback Sam Budig returned a fumble 57 yards for the fifth touchdown of the first quarter giving Johnson Creek a commanding 35-0 lead.
The Bluejays got another Budig touchdown on a 55-yard run early in the second quarter setting the halftime score at 42-0, leading to a running clock in the second half.
Johnson Creek out-gained Deerfield 282-196, led by Swanson’s 5-for-5, 143-yard passing night.
“I like our execution from an offensive standpoint,” Wagner said.
Garza led the defense with 10 tackles, while Isaiah Wollet made seven stops and forced a fumble and Isaac Hartz had six tackles and a forced fumble.
Sophomore Austin Pernat scored, returning an interception 82 yards for a third-quarter score.
Meanwhile, the first-team defense pitched a shutout as Deerfield’s lone score came against some of the younger Creek players in the fourth quarter.
The Bluejays answered the score, however, when junior Howie Olszewski took the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to the house.
“It was the conference opener and we were at home, so we told the kids they needed to take advantage of that. They did,” Wagner said.
Johnson Creek returns to Trailways Small Conference play next Friday at Cambria-Friesland. Kickoff against the Hilltoppers (2-1) is 7 p.m.JOHNSON CREEK 56
Demons 0 0 0 6 — 6
Bluejays 35 7 7 7 — 56
Johnson Creek — Owen 43 pass from Swanson (Griffiths kick)
Johnson Creek — Swanson 2 run (Griffiths kick)
Johnson Creek — Garza 12 run (Griffiths kick)
Johnson Creek — Griffiths 80 pass from Swanson (Griffiths kick)
Johnson Creek — Budig 57 fumble return (Griffiths kick)
Johnson Creek — Budig 55 run (Griffiths kick)
Johnson Creek — Pernat 82 interception return (Griffiths kick)
Deerfield — Lees 6 pass from Fisher (run failed)
Johnson Creek — Olszewski 85 kickoff return (Griffiths kick)
First downs — D 10, JC 11. Rushing (Att.-Yds.) — D 26-88, JC 12-139. Passing yards — D 108, JC 143. Passes (Comp.-Att.-Int.) — D 9-21-3, JC 5-5-0. Fumbles-lost — D 1-1, JC 0-0. Penalties-yards — D 4-25, JC 1-5.