Johnson takes off, helps City win, 22-17 Saves drive that Watson finishes against Northern

October 03, 1998|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

City's Bryant Johnson entered yesterday's game against visiting Northern having accounted for 28 of the 44 points scored a team with three victories by a combined 14 points.

The 11th-ranked Knights had been limited to 54 yards of offense -- only four in the first period -- and trailed by a point at halftime, when the Penn State-bound senior again came to the rescue.

Facing fourth-and-16 at Northern's 47 in the third quarter, Johnson caught a 19-yard pass from punter Brandon Wilson that led to City taking a 22-17 win in the City East Division.

Johnson's catch for a first down set up Brandon Watson's game-winning, 28-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Jawan Yancey three plays later.

Northern's last two possessions ended with interceptions by Todd Galloway and Gamal Gordon, respectively, with 7: 25 and 4: 23 left to play. Gordon's pick-off was in the end zone, and earlier, Galloway had broken up a sure touchdown in the end zone.

"I signaled Brandon that no one was on me. Then I ran as far as I could," said Johnson, who caught the ball 4 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, raced 14 more and dived the final yard.

"That's why he's going to Penn State," said Petrides. "We've asked a lot of him, and he's come through."

But Northern's defense shined early behind Curtis Hector (6-3, 285) and Walter Brown (6-3, 245), each of whom had two sacks, and linebacker Ramone Gray.

Defending league champ City (2-0 league, 4-1 overall) took an 8-0 less than two minutes into the game after Yancey followed his 65-yard punt return with a conversion pass to Marcus Martin. Yancey also found Johnson (four receptions, 70 yards) on a 14-yard scoring pass for a 16-10 lead 2: 08 before halftime.

But the Vikings (214 total yards) rebounded each time. Northern covered 66 yards in 10 plays before Devin Dennis' 3-yard run made it 8-7. It was 10-8, Northern, after Hammonds' 21-yard field goal completed an 11-play, 68-yard drive.

Northern (1-1, 3-2) took only 1: 13 to go 65 yards in five plays for a 17-16 halftime lead. Justin Veney (6-for-9, 81 yards) found James Lowe (three receptions, 45 yards) on the end of a 13-yard scoring pass, and Hammonds' kick, 17.8 seconds before halftime, gave the Vikings momentum.

But Northern blew three scoring opportunities in the second half.

A fourth-down pass fell incomplete with Northern at City's 8-yard line, and Hammonds' 38-yard field goal attempt fell short.

Then, with 11: 16 to play, came Watson's acrobatic effort. Watson, who missed the previous day's practice with the flu, out-jumped a defender at the 5-yard line, landed at the 3, and crossed the goal line unchallenged.

"I reached over the guy and grabbed it," Watson said. "Thank God."

Pub Date: 10/03/98

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