Prep Football: Wonders stay unbeaten, knock off Vance
A.L. Brown’s football team is likely to crack the AP’s top-10 list this week for the first time in years after beating highly regarded Vance 31-14 on Monday in a MECKA game played at Rocky River High in Mint Hill.
Vance’s only loss coming into the game was to South Carolina power South Pointe.
“Everybody is beatable,” said A.L. Brown QB Damon Johnson, who threw two TD passes and ran for a score. “We knew we had the cards, and we practiced hard and prepared hard so we could play them right. But we came in humble. It’s not about words for us, it’s about our actions.”
The Wonders avenged a 48-35 loss in 2014 at Memorial Stadium in which they were trampled for 405 rushing yards by Vance back Donnovan Spencer.
This time the Wonders’ defense was outstanding. A.L. Brown (6-0, 2-0 MECKA) shut out high-powered Vance the last three quarters.
Running back Jayln Cagle, who sat out the previous game with a hamstring injury, broke a 34-yard scoring run to put the Wonders on top.
Cagle rushed for 105 yards.
“It really helped Jayln that we played Monday instead of Friday,” Johnson said. “ It was a few more days rest for him, and we needed that extra health.”
But explosive Vance (4-2, 0-1) got two scores in less than two minutes on a rushing TD by quarterback Kingsley Ifedi and a pass from Ifedi to his brother, Jonathan Ifedi for a 14-7 lead.
Johnson’s 75-yard TD pass to Lewis Harris late in the first quarter proved be the turning point.
“It was a simple 10-yard in route to Lewis, and I made the right read and used my arm and gunned it to him,” Johnson said. “The safety had crashed down, and Lewis split the defense.”
The Wonders’ defense got a stop at the Brown 30 early in the second quarter. Then the Wonders took over the game in all three phases. Johnson’s second TD pass — a 19-yard connection to Brandon Dry — gave the Wonders a 21-14 lead at halftime.
The Wonders pounced on a fumble to stop a Vance drive early in the third quarter.
Johnson got loose for a 21-yard scoring run with 1:21 left in the third quarter for a 28-14 lead. That dash by the speedy senior QBt proved a backbreaker.
“Our offensive line did a great job and I didn’t get sacked at all,” said Johnson, who threw for 136 yards. “I had this four-second timer in my head. I wanted to use my arm first, but I was ready to use my legs when needed. I made the right reads most of the time and our offense made good plays.”
When Nate Williams booted a 38-yard field goal with 5:23 remaining, the Wonders led 31-14 — and it was all over.
“I’ve got an amazing feeling right now because I believe that was the best game I’ve played in my life,” Johnsons said. “Not a lot of people thought we’d win this one. It’s a statement and milestone victory for this team, but it’s not the end. It’s just one more step toward bigger ones to come.”
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