CLOVER — – South Florence’s Josh Johnson didn’t look the part of a wide receiver moonlighting as a backed quarterback.
Johnson finished 13-of-16 passing for 216 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Bruins to a 46-3 victory against the Clover Blue Eagles at Memorial Stadium on Friday.
Johnson subbed for starter Nick Jones, who suffered a head injury in South Florence’s first scrimmage. Jones made a late cameo, but he really didn’t need to given Johnson’s command of the spread offense. Johnson tossed for four TDs in the first half alone.
The Bruins took a 6-0 lead when Joey Felder returned the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. South Florence (1-0) scored again three plays after a Clover fumble when Johnson found a wide-open Mason Edwards for a 27-yard TD. The Bruins had a 12-0 lead just 1:14 into the action. Johnson finished 6-of-6 with 92 yards and two TDs in that first quarter.
“We had kids who were in good position,” Clover coach John Devine said. “We were either a foot away here or a jump away from knocking the ball down in critical situations. But their quarterback threw the ball well.”
Clover (0-1) converted a fumble recovery on a punt by Landon Harkey into a 45-yard field goal by Evan Edmunds but still trailed 19-3 after one period.
Johnson struck twice more in the second quarter. He connected with Edwards for a 65-yard TD on a deep fade then added the dagger with a 23-yard TD to Felder on the last play of the first half for a 32-3 advantage. South Florence cruised from there.
Despite the loss, the Blue Eagles’ youth movement showed signs of progress. JeVaughn Starr led the team with two receptions for 28 yards and added a 30-yard interception return. Javon Blake and Jordon Carpenter added interceptions. Clover, however, lost three fumbles, all of which led to Bruins’ scores.
“Our offense isn’t there yet,” Devine said. “We have to get better up front, but our effort was good, our enthusiasm was good and our focus was good. We just have to make a few plays.”
SOUTH FLORENCE 46, CLOVER 3
SF — Joey Felder 88 kick return (Kick failed)
SF — Josh Johnson 27 pass to Mason Edwards (kick failed)
C — Evan Edmunds 45 field goal
SF — Johnson 6 pass to Fabian Jefferson (conversion failed)
SF — Johnson 65 pass to Edwards (A.J. Lowry kick)
SF — Johnson 23 pass to Felder (Lowry kick)
SF — Johnson 8 pass to Tabari Hines (Lowry kick)
SF — Jamall Cain 1 run (Lowry kick)
RUSHING — SOUTH FLORENCE: Rodney Brunson 5-66, Johnson 13-39, Cain 9-28, Nick Jones 2-2, Derek Granger 2-(-4). CLOVER: Colton Barnes 6-22, C.J. Woods 9-22, DeForrest McCombs 2-2, Aaron Felder 3-2, Jordon Carpenter 1-2, Jakob Morrison 3-0, Coby Hamblen 3-0, Scott Jackson 7-0.
PASSING — SOUTH FLORENCE: Johnson 13-16-1, 216 yards; Granger 3-5-2, 10 yards, Jones 1-3-0, 49 yards. CLOVER: Jackson 3-7-1, 35 yards, Hamblen 0-1-0, 0 yards.
RECEIVING — SOUTH FLORENCE: Edwards 2-92, Jefferson 4-54, Tabari Hines 2-15, Joey Felder 5-55, Tyquan Johnson 1-49, Tim Quillens 3-10. CLOVER: JeVaughn Starr 2-28, Nate Morrison 1-7.
RECORDS: South Florence 1-0, Clover 0-1.