Johnson scores 4 TDs in Tigers’ 38-6 win
By Tony Adams
With the three-way tie for the fourth and final playoff spot in limbo in District 12-6A, the Belton Tigers looked to trip up the Killeen Ellison Eagles at Tiger Field on Friday night.
Kavan Johnson had four touchdown runs to help pace the Tigers to a 38-6 win.
Belton (2-2 District 12-6A, 4-4 overall) got a 60-yard kickoff return from Calvin Johnson III to start the ball game and give the Tigers a drive start at the Ellison 25. Shane Stafford connected with Kavan Johnson on a 13-yard pass play and Coby Potvin for a 10-yard pass play. Kavan Johnson’s 2-yard touchdown put the Tigers on on the board just 36 seconds into the game. Blake Odell’s extra point made the score 7-0.
Ryan Johnson and Reagan Chapman posted tackles for losses to force the Eagles into a punt. The punt landed on the Belton 33, but the Tigers were knocked back on a bad snap and fumble. Haygen Tibbetts’ punt went off of an Ellison defender’s leg and Ricky Martin recovered the fumble at the Ellison 35.
Kavan Johnson had a seven-yard run and Davion Peoples had a nine-yard run to get the Tigers into the red zone, but could only get as far as the Ellison 16. Odell’s 33-yard field goal split the uprights, making the score 10-0 with 5:41 remaining in the first quarter.
The Tigers’ defense sharpened their claws on the Eagles’ offense again, as Tevin Jones disrupted the Ellison offensive flow, along with Ryan Johnson and Chris Jones. Belton took over after a good punt from Deon Burch at the Belton 25.
On the first play of the Tigers’ next drive, a bad snap was recovered by Ellison defense on the Belton 23 and Eagles were given a short field to work with. Three Carl Robinson III runs set up a fourth down and two situation on the Belton 15. Robinson rolled out to the edge, only to be met by Tevin Jones. The Tigers’ defense made another key stop and gave the ball back to the offense.
Kavan Johnson’s 27-yard run set the Tigers on the Eagles side of the field on the next drive. The Tigers worked the ball down to the Ellison 20 and set up Odell for a 38-yard field goal try. The kick had the distance, but just right of the uprights.
The Tigers’ defense had another three-and-out stand against the Ellison offense, giving the ball back to the offense at the Belton 48. Kavan Johnson did all of the work, with a 10-yard run and a 42-yard touchdown run. Odell’s extra-point gave the Tigers a 17-0 lead with 10:04 remaining in the first half.
Ellison’s next drive looked temporarily promising, as Robinson hit Sedderian Chambers for a 10-yard completion, but paid for it by a hard hit from Collin Mask. Robinson connected with Jacob Ledford on the next play, only to get a hard hit from Matt Chapman. Tevin Jones stopped Brandon Johnson in his tracks, forcing another Ellison punt.
Stafford hit Potvin on the fly down the home sidelines for a 54-yard completion down to the Ellison 28. Stafford called his own number on third down and seven on the Ellison 25, running for 15 yards and another Tigers’ first down. Three plays later, Peoples scored from two yards out. Odell’s extra-point made the score 24-0 with 5:08 remaining in the half.
Ellison almost surrendered a pick-six on the second play of the next drive, as Calvin Johnson III picked off Robinson on the Ellison 48 and returned the interception the distance. However, the officials called the speedy defensive back for pass interference. Thus, the six points was taken off the board and Ellison was given a first down on the Belton 46.
The defense, unfazed by the penalty, continued to pound away at the Ellison offense. On fourth down and six on the Belton 25, Calvin Johnson III knocked away a Robinson pass, giving the ball back to the Tigers.
Belton was held to three-and-out on the next drive and Ellison attempted a 26-yard field goal at the end of the first half, but the ball floated wide right.
The Tigers’ defense held the Eagles offense to a three-and-out drive to start the second half. Robinson left the game with an injury following a sack by Ozbourne Seuteni. The Tigers offense went to work on their own 48.
Stafford hit Potvin with a 10-yard pass and Rhoads with a six-yard pass. Stafford connected with Potvin again, this time for 24 yards and set up Kavan Johnson for a 2-yard touchdown. Odell’s extra-point gave the Tigers a 31-0 lead with 8:01 remaining in the third quarter.
Belton’s defense bent, but didn’t break again on the next drive. Ellison drove down the field, as Ledford took over for the injured Robinson. He drove the Eagles down to the Belton 19. On fourth down and one, Drequan Jackson was stopped by Seuteni, giving the ball back to Belton on downs.
The Tigers drove 81 yards on the ensuing drive, mixing a series of passes to Potvin, Brandon Rhoads and Olajuwon Taylor. Kavan Johnson’s fourth touchdown of the night, a five-yard touchdown run, paired with Odell’s extra-point, made the score 38-0 with 1:35 to go in the third quarter.
Belton held Ellison to a three-and-out and the Eagles recovered a fumble to get the ball back. The Eagles held the ball for six plays and punted the ball back to Belton. The Tigers’ special teams roughed the punter, setting up the Eagles on the Belton 38. The Tigers’ defense beared down once again, derailing the Eagles on fourth down and 13 on the Belton 28.
Ellison was able to recover another Belton fumble and five plays later, Drequan Jackson’s 1-yard touchdown run wrecked the Tigers’ shutout with 35.9 seconds remaining. The two-point conversion failed, keeping the score 38-6.
The Tigers received the kickoff and bled the clock for the win.
“It was a really good defensive effort,” said Belton head coach Bob Shipley. “They went a long time without allowing a first down, so I was proud of the effort. Offensively, we were sluggish. We did something’s right, but we’re not going to be the kind of teams like Midway by making mistakes. We have to continue to get better. 38-6 is great, but we can’t play down to the level of our opponent.”
“Offense did great,” said Kavan Johnson. “The offense had busts here and there, but we did great.”
The offensive line opened a great deal of real estate for the Belton running game.
“They have stepped up it and have played great,” said Kavan Johnson. “They have had some injuries, but overcame them and have really helped out the offense in a big way.”
The defensive effort is one that the Tigers were very proud of.
“I think we came out here and did what we needed to do overall,” said Tevin Jones. “This is one of the crucial games in our quest for the playoffs.”
“We made plenty of stops,” said Chris Jones. “We let down a bit at the end and we know that we cannot do that against Midway.”
“I felt like we got sloppy near the end,” said Ryan Johnson. “But overall we did really well.”
With Waco Midway coming up in Hewitt, the Tigers know they need a solid performance to keep pace with the Panthers.
“Honestly, I think it’s going to be our attitude,” said Tevin Jones. “We know that they are one of the top teams in the state, but we can’t let it get to us. We have to hold our heads high and execute the way we know we can do. Teams like Midway execute on mistakes. We have to play mistake-free football.”