8th-ranked City edges No. 10 St. Joe, 38-33 Johnson, Smith combine for 3 TDs, game-winner

November 02, 1996|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Michael Johnson and Warren Smith pulled double duty against No. 10 Mount St. Joseph yesterday, even connecting on the game-winning play with 3: 41 left -- an 11-yard touchdown pass -- as No. 8 City won at home, 38-33.

Quarterback Johnson, who also played linebacker, finished 13-for-20 for 260 yards. All three of his touchdown passes went to Smith (10 receptions, 173 yards), who, as a defensive back, did not allow the Gaels' Shaz Brown (four receptions, 90 yards) to catch a pass after halftime.

But City, which lost top rusher Taber Small to a hamstring injury in the second quarter, could claim victory only after a penalty nullified Brown's 85-yard kickoff return, and Desmond Foster recovered a Gaels fumble that helped City (7-2) to run out the clock.

"I knew I could get open. I just ran right by them," Smith said.

Johnson was more complimentary about a Gaels defense led by Ryan Andrew (two sacks), Nate Johnson and Jason Tyler (one sack each): "They came after me pretty hard and had me rolling out a lot."

Bryant Johnson caught two passes for 68 yards and rushed six times for 43 more. His 2-yard touchdown run brought City within 33-32 with 6: 41 to play.

The Gaels' Aaron Thompson (41 carries, 269 yards, three touchdowns) raised his area-leading season totals to 2,077 yards and 31 rushing touchdowns. Teammate Lucas Phillips (9-for-17, 138 yards, one TD) has 1,485 passing yards for 10 touchdowns this year. He's the state's career passing yardage leader with 6,019 (51 career TDs).

Smith's first quarter 9-yard slant-in touchdown reception, for a 6-0 lead, was set up by James Gee's game-opening, 55-yard kickoff return to the Gaels' 37.

The Gaels (5-4) answered on their second possession, going 53 yards in 10 plays before Thompson scored from two yards out. Michael Floyd's first of three conversion kicks put the visitors up 7-6 with 3: 59 left in the first period.

The Knights led 20-7 with 11: 04 left in the half after Small (13 carries, 43 yards) scored from 4 and 5 yards out, the latter followed by B. Johnson's conversion run. But after Andrew Lashley's 20-yard punt, the Gaels went 25 yards in two plays as Thompson's 3-yard run made it 20-14 with 2: 28 left in the half.

The Gaels' nine-play, 64-yard scoring drive to open the second ++ half ended with an 8-yard pass to Matt Thomas (five receptions, 50 yards) for their first lead, 21-20, with 9: 02 left in the period. But in City's ensuing seven-play, 76-yard drive, Smith caught four passes for 70 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown to make it 27-26 with 4: 44 left in the period.

The Gaels led, 33-26 with 9: 48 to play, after Phillips' 2-yard keeper capped an 11-play, 50-yard drive. But two big plays by City juniors led to Bryant Johnson's touchdown and a 33-32 deficit: Derek Brown returned the ensuing kickoff 65 yards to the Gaels' 39, and Ali Harding-Bey hauled in a 19-yard pass -- tipped by a defender -- while tumbling to the Gaels' 4.

Pub Date: 11/02/96

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