Sports Sunday Correspondent
FOYIL — Sallisaw Central got a dominating all-around performance from senior quarterback Jay Johnson as the Tigers spoiled Foyil’s high school football season opener Friday night at McGregor Field.
Johnson bruised the Panther defense, accounting for 331 total yards of offense, and Sallisaw Central cruised to a 19-6 victory.
Equally impressive on the ground and through the air, Johnson rushed 30 times for 230 yards and completed 8-of-12 passes for 101 yards. His total yardage alone was 170 yards more than what Foyil managed offensively.
Johnson also rushed for a pair of touchdowns and threw for another.
The Tigers struck late in the first quarter when Johnson scrambled from the pocket and found a crease in the middle of the field for a 15-yard touchdown run.
Foyil answered immediately for what would be its only points. Junior Dillon Noland returned the kickoff 64 yards to the Tigers’ 20-yard line. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Sallisaw Central gave the Panthers a first-and-goal at the 10.
Following three straight Noland carries for nine yards, Foyil senior quarterback Jared Ward scored from the one at 10:24 of the second quarter. Foyil failed to convert on a two-point conversion as the Tigers held claim to a 7-6 lead.
Johnson proved to be too much for the Panther defense the remainder of the way.
He posted his longest play from scrimmage on the Tigers’ next possession. The fleet-footed Johnson took an option keeper around the right side before making a Foyil defender miss and then cut back across the middle of the field for a 57-yard scamper into the end zone 8:36 before halftime.
The Panthers appeared headed into the right direction on their next offensive series before disaster hit. They marched 33 yards to the Central 33, following an 11-yard run on an option keeper by Ward. But Ward fumbled on the play, which would be one of three turnovers by the Panthers in the contest and the second of the first half.
Central put together an impressive 75-yard drive in just 58 seconds right before halftime to complete the scoring.
Johnson first ran for 27 yards, then completed a pass for 14 yards to wide receiver Brandon Holt. On a second-down play from the Foyil 34, he hooked up with Travis Cullum for 21 yards. As time expired, Johnson connected with Kyler Ekburg in the back of the end zone for a 19-6 cushion.
Ward gave Foyil its last hope with just under eight minutes left in the game when he guided the Panthers 39 yards on the strength of consecutive completions of 12, 11 and 16 yards to Caleb Hubbard, Brandon Leland and Hunter Williams.
But Ward misfired on a third-and-10 from the Tiger 28 where he was picked off by Ekburg with 6:52 left.
Ward completed 11-of-21 passes for 83 yards as the Panthers managed just 161 total yards. Noland led the Foyil ground game with 35 yards on 13 carries. Kris Miller added 19 yards on seven attempts.
Sallisaw Central ended with 385 total yards. Cullum finished with 44 yards on 10 carries. Holt led all receivers with four catches for 34 yards.
Sallisaw Central 19, Foyil 6
Sallisaw Central 7 12 0 0 — 19
Foyil 0 6 0 0 — 6
Central — Johnson 15 run (Drake kick)
Foyil — Ward 1 run (run failed)
Central — Johnson 57 run (pass failed)
Central — Ekburg 15 pass from Johnson (run failed)
Rushing —Johnson 30-230, 2TDs, Cullum 10-44, Coleman 4-8, Hall 1-2.
Passing — Johnson 8-12-0-101, TD.
Receiving — Holt 4-34, Cullum 1-21, Kutil 1-19, Ekburg 1-15,TD, Caughman 1-12.
Rushing — Noland 13-35, Miller 7-19, McIntosh 2-12, Ward 2-12, TD.
Passing — Ward 11-21-1-83.
Receiving — McIntosh 3-17, Hubbard 2-16, Noland 2-12, Miller 2-11, Williams 1-16, Leland 1-11.