J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
CHARLESTON — There’s no doubt Andrew Johnson was a little steamed he was left off of the North-South Basketball roster. Unfortunately for the North Bears football team, Johnson took that aggression out on them.
The Woodrow Wilson senior led the South Cardinals to a 43-14 victory in the North-South Football Classic in Charleston on Saturday night.
“I wanted to be out there (Friday) playing basketball; I felt like I deserved to be out there,” Johnson said. “But now I’m glad I didn’t play, because I don’t think I’d have as much energy as I did to play in this game.”
Johnson ran for 78 yards, threw for 190 yards and two touchdowns and even caught two passes for 45 yards to run away with the game MVP.
“I mean, it feels great to come out of my last high school game, and it feels great to come back and get a win really,” Johnson said. “My regular season in high school didn’t end how I wanted it to, but I felt like we could have gone further.”
The Flying Eagles’ all-time leading passer knew he had good protection in front of him. The charismatic quarterback danced around the pocket, looking for the perfect opportunity to let loose.
“It’s always easier having someone as fast as him back there,” Johnson’s all-star and Woodrow teammate Michael Bailey said. “I told Coach, let me be up front. Put it all behind me, and I’ll protect it.”
Johnson benefited from having Woodrow quarterback coach Jim Martin as the South’s offensive coordinator.
“We ran the same exact offense (that Woodrow ran during the season),” Johnson said. “I was getting a little bit frustrated during the week, because they were having a hard time picking it up. I had to remember I had a whole new group of people and me and Ramon (Edwards) were the only ones who knew it. But we worked it out. We knew Saturday night was going to be a way different story, and it was.”
Johnson, who has committed to continue his football career at Hardgrave Military Academy in the fall, is hoping his performance on the field Saturday night will lead to him performance on the field for many more Saturdays to come.
“Glenville State is the only college that’s looked at me,” Johnson said. “I’m not 10 percent sure, nobody’s talked to me about anything else yet, but Hargrave is my No. 1 option and my only option right now.”
His Woodrow teammate – and South’s leading receiver with 63 yards, Ramon Edwards — hopes to see a lot more of Johnson. Edwards will continue his career with the Pioneers in the fall.
“I mean, I hope this isn’t the last time I get to run the offense with him,” Edwards said coyly. “I’m trying to drive him to the Glenville side.”
Considering the Flying Eagle duo accounted for 376 of total offense for the South, Johnson’s phone may ring any minute.
North 7 7 0 0 --14
South 7 7 14 15 --43
N -- Cutter 30 pass from Clinton (Wise kick), 10:22
S -- Kitts fumble recovery in end zone (Jordan kick), 6:01
S -- Lewis 9 run (Jordan kick), 4:23
N -- Pugh 82 interception return (Wise kick), :15
S -- Johnson 14 run (Jordan kick), 7:14
S -- Reese 34 pass from Johnson (Jordan kick), 3:59
S -- Martin 25 pass from Johnson (Bennett pass from Jordan), 7:08
S -- Spurlock 7 run (Jordan kick), 1:08
RUSHING -- North: Clinton 18-45, Cox 5-34, Hathaway 2-9, Commodore 1-5, Barnhart 1-3, Team 3-minus-37; South: Johnson 13-78, Spurlock 7-38, Lewis 7-36, Gibbs 8-26, Reese 2-14, Moore 5-1
PASSING -- North: Clinton 4-15-1-77, Cosper 1-1-0-7, Commodore 0-1-0-0; South: Johnson 11-14-0-190, Gibbs 8-16-1-100, Team 0-1-0-0
RECEIVING -- North: Cutter 2-37, Cox 1-33, Commodore 1-13, Parker 1-1; South: Edwards 9-63, Reese 3-55, Murphy 3-49, Johnson 2-45, Reed 1-53, Martin 1-2