Johnson answers QB call for Wilde Lake in 31-20 upset of Centennial

October 30, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

No high school quarterback could hope for a more auspicious debut than Wilde Lake's Jeff Johnson.

The junior had not played in a game this season, even though Wilde Lake has been struggling to find a quarterback.

On Johnson's first play, with 5:42 left in the first half of yesterday's 31-20 upset victory against Centennial, the Wildecat completed a 75-yard touchdown pass to Barrett Wragg that put Wilde Lake ahead, 13-6.

Johnson's next three plays were completed passes of 18, 15 and 24 yards. For the game he completed six of 11 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown.

And if his quarterbacking debut wasn't enough, his debut as a place-kicker was equally impressive.

With Wilde Lake (4-4 overall, 3-2 league) leading 28-20 and 2:07 to play, Johnson pulled the plug on Centennial's county championship and playoff hopes by nailing a 30-yard field goal.

"I was really surprised when they called on me to kick it," Johnson said. "I've had a sore back for three weeks and haven't practiced kicking."

So why hadn't Johnson had a chance to play before this?

"The coaches just didn't believe I could do the job," Johnson said. 'But I had confidence in myself and didn't quit even after Tony [Jackson] was named the starting quarterback."

Jackson is the third quarterback Wilde Lake tried this season, but his best position is wide receiver. He bruised his throwing arm in last week's 3-0 victory over Atholton and was unable to throw deep passes yesterday.

So when Wilde Lake gained possession late in the second quarter and the score tied at 6, Wildecats coach Doug DuVal decided he needed someone who could throw deep and Johnson came in to throw four consecutive completions.

His second, third and fourth completions to Brian Sterling, Jackson and Allen Anderson, set up Wilde Lake's third touchdown, with 1:54 left in the first half.

Dain Lewis, a sophomore who carried 22 times for 148 yards and three touchdowns -- his best day of the season -- scored from 8 yards out on a draw to complete a four-play 65-yard drive that made it 20-6.

Centennial (6-2, 3-2) then went 48 yards in five plays, helped by a pass-interference penalty of 25 yards. Dominic Dinisio beat Tony DeSantis down the right side on a 19-yard touchdown pass with 48 seconds left to make it 20-12 at halftime.

Wilde Lake drove 48 yards to Centennial's 17-yard line to start the second half, but Chris Cochran sacked Johnson for a loss and Dinisio broke up a fourth-down pass.

Centennial's Robbie Hauff, the Baltimore area's leading rusher and scorer, was held to 47 yards on 16 carries in the first half.

But Hauff broke a 66-yard touchdown run down the right sideline on Centennial's fourth play of the second half. He plunged off tackle for the conversion and a 20-20 tie with 4:55 left in the third quarter.

Hauff finished with 143 yards on 23 carries. He scored two touchdowns and caught three passes for 22 yards.

Centennial's Brian Dowell completed eight of 20 passes for 124 yards and one touchdown but was intercepted twice.

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