High School Sports

‘I owe it to my linemen’ says Vancleave fullback after win over West Harrison

Vancleave's C.J. Johnson runs the ball against West Harrison on Friday, August 25, 2017, at West Harrison High.
Vancleave's C.J. Johnson runs the ball against West Harrison on Friday, August 25, 2017, at West Harrison High. amccoy@sunherald.com

Vancleave’s flexbone offense showed off its running prowess Friday night, galloping for 314 yards in a 30-12 road win at West Harrison.

The Bulldogs (1-1) rebounded from an opening week loss to Forrest County AHS while host West Harrison fell to 1-1.

Vancleave fullback Lane Wise rushed for 161 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries while running back C.J. Johnson gained 66 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Vancleave only threw two passes the whole night while running it 60 times.

“I owe it to my linemen,’’ Wise said. “It was not me. My brothers were on the field with me — all 10 of them. Without them, I couldn’t do a thing.’’

Vancleave coach Lavon Capers had high praise for his offensive line.

“We did exactly what we wanted to do,’’ Capers said. “We came in and controlled the clock. I can’t say enough about our offensive line. They did a tremendous job. The backs blocked well. It was a total team effort.”

The Bulldog offensive line consisted of Austin Thomley, Quinton Murphy, Caleb Bicknell, Zack Overstreet and Matthew Mixon.

West Harrison jumped on top 6-0 in the first quarter on Ahmad Gage’s 63-yard run, which followed Damarius Allen’s fumble recovery.

But it was all Vancleave after that. Johnson tied the game at 6 on a 4-yard scoring run with 10:41 left in the second quarter. Quarterback Tristan Glass then scored on a two-point conversion for an 8-6 lead the Bulldogs would never relinquish.

Vancleave recovered the ensueing kickoff off a muff, and then marched 37 yards in 8 plays to go up 15-6. Glass’s 2-yard sneak capped the drive and Roy Johnson kicked the extra point with 6:03 left before halftime.

Vancleave pushed the lead to 23-6, driving 51 yards in 9 plays, with Johnson doing the honors from three yards out. Glass ran for the two-point conversion with 11 seconds left before halftime.

The Hurricanes shaved the lead to 23-12 with 8:39 left in the game on the arm and legs of quarterback Dayln Anderson. Anderson tossed a 13-yard TD pass to Gage to cap the 42-yard drive.

Vancleave answered with a 58-yard grind-it-out drive, capped by Wise’s 1-yard dive with 1:52 left in the contest. Johnson then kicked the second of his two extra points.

“We turned the ball six times last week and lost by 13 points,’’ Capers said. “We felt we gave one away last week. We corrected a lot of mistakes and did a much better job.

“(Wise) is a beast. He is a small guy but all 160 pounds of him is heart. He’s a hard, hard worker. He plays with everything he has on every play.

“We saw that (West Harrison) had four big plays last week, three for scores. We focused on trying to do a good job in the open field. They have some good athletes. That was a point of emphasis for us to contain them. Our defensive line played well tonight and we did a good job in the secondary until the end when we got a little tired. Special teams were huge for us as well.”

Anderson completed 10 of 21 passes for 77 yards for the Hurricanes.