The Berkeley Stags might have gotten a little more fight than they bargained for in Class AA’s Johnsonville Flashes, hanging on to win an old-fashioned barn burner shootout 42-27 Friday night at Bonner Stadium and Gerald Moody Field.
Leon Simmons and D.J. Whitherspoon each scored a pair of touchdowns and Joseph Dress ran for one and threw for one as the Stags jumped out to a 1-0 mark for the first time in the Jeff Cruce era, and for the first time since a 42-28 win over Stratford in 2010.
Johnsonville and their triple option offense, proved they were much more than just a flash in the pan, two years removed from a state championship game appearance in Class A in 2012, the Flashes hit the ground running in the first quarter, scoring a pair of touchdowns to go up 13-0.
Robert Ripley scored the first of three touchdowns for the Flashes on the game’s first possession, finding pay dirt from six yards out to put Johnsonville up 6-0.
After the Stags turned the ball over on downs Flashes quarterback Jacob Avant capped a six-play 43-yard drive with a four-yard run to put Johnsonville up by a 13-0 score.
The Stags answered with three touchdowns in the second quarter to take the lead for good.
Simmons put Berkeley on the board with a four-yard run to cut the lead to 13-7 with the Vance Bailey PAT, capping a 99-plus yard, seven-play drive.
Forcing a Flashes punt on defense, Whitherspoon hauled in the kick on his own 45-yard line and scampered untouched 55-yards to put the Stags on top 14-13.
After a second straight stop by the Berkeley defense, Joseph Dress scored on a 26-yard keeper to put the Stags up 21-13 going into the locker room.
In the second half the two teams traded touchdown punches until the Stags finally put the game away with fourth quarter touchdowns by Simmons and Whitherspoon, and a 49-run by Jamal Bowman.
Ripley took care of the Johnsonville scoring with a pair of touchdown runs.
Berkeley hosts Stratford on Aug. 29 while Johnsonville travels to Carver’s Bay.
J – Robert Ripley, six-yard run, kick good
J – Jacob Avant, four-run run, kick failed
B – Leon Simmons, four-yard run, Vance Bailey kick
B – D. J. Whitherspoon, 55-yard punt return, Bailey kick
B – Joseph Dress, 26-yard run, Bailey kick
B – Dress, 18-yard pass to Whitherspoon, Bailey kick
J – Ripley, 60-yard run, two-point conversion good
J – Ripley, one-yard run, kick blocked
B – Jamal Bowman, 49-yard run, Bailey kick
B – Simmons, 26-yard run, Bailey kick