DARLINGTON — Halfbacks Trevor Johnson and Hunter Johnson combined for 340 yards of offense and six touchdowns to carry the #3-ranked Darlington Redbirds over the visiting Mineral Point Pointers, 57-21, in a SWAL showdown at Martens Field on Friday, Sept. 11.
Trevor ran for 218 yards and three touchdowns (51, 9 and 48 yards) on 15 carries and added one catch for 18 yards and another score, while his cousin, Hunter, ran 12 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns (44 and 4 yards) to keep the Redbirds’ offense firing on all cylinders.
“We played really well offensively. We have such a dynamic offense. Right now we have such diversity with our backs,” said Darlington head coach Scott Zywicki. “Trevor’s a heck of a ball player. He does a lot of things extremely well. Between him and Hunter, we have two excellent halfbacks, and Conrad (Blosch) has been a solid fullback for us.”
Blosch opened the scoring with a 2-yard TD run minutes into the game to get the Redbirds (4-0 overall, 2-0 SWAL) off and running on the night. Chad Golackson added the first of six extra points to put the ‘Birds ahead to stay at 7-0.
The Darlington defense, which forced a fumble on the Pointers’ opening drive to set the first score, got into the scoring act with Brayden McDonald returning a Scott Pittz interception 70 yards to make it 13-0.
Trevor Johnson added a 51-yard TD run with 1:37 remaining in the first quarter to put the ‘Birds up 20-0, but Pittz answered with a 16-yard TD run early in the second quarter to keep the Pointers (3-1, 1-1) in the game at 20-7.
Pittz, who threw the ball 86 times for 446 yards and three scores in two games against the Redbirds last year, ran it 35 times for 196 yards and three TDs in Friday’s game.
The Pointers graduated the bulk of their receiving corps from a year ago, and they lost this year’s top receiver, Steven Blume, to a season-ending injury in last Friday’s 57-24 win over Fennimore.
“They don’t have the receivers they’ve had in the past. If this team had the receivers they had last year to go along with their rushing attack this year, you’d be hard-pressed to stop everything they could do,” stated Zywicki about his former assistant coach Andy Palzkill’s Pointers. “(Pittz) was MVP last year for a reason. He has all the tools whether its passing the ball or running with it.”
Trevor Johnson sandwiched an 18-yard TD reception from QB Jared Meister and a 9-yard TD run around a 6-yard Pittz scoring scamper to put the hosts ahead 34-14 at the intermission, and the Darlington junior broke free for a 48-yard TD run on the fourth play from scrimmage in the second half to extended the advantage to 41-14.
Pittz charged back with a 14-yard scoring jaunt to cut the gap to 41-21 with 6:22 to play in the third quarter, but H. Johnson followed with a 44-yard TD sprint moments later to swing the momentum right back to the ‘Birds.
Linebacker Jesse Sturtz returned a Pittz interception down to the MP 4-yard line early in the fourth quarter, and one player later H. Johnson hit pay dirt once again to put Darlington on top 54-21.
On the Pointers’ next possession, H. Johnson swiped another Pittz pass and returned it to the 16, and Golackson closed the scoring with a 21-yard field goal with 6:11 to play.
Darlington gained 392 of their 410 total yards on the ground with Blosch rushing 12 times for 37 yards and a score and Tyler Komprood running it twice with 29 yards.
The Pointers finished with 197 rushing yards and 65 passing yards on the night, while turning the ball over four times. Pittz finished just 5-of-19 through the air for 65 yards with three interceptions.
“When we’re where we’re supposed to be, we do pretty well on defense. The nice thing about the defense is we’re creating turnovers. We’re getting the ball back to our offense with short fields. Those are things that are extremely important, especially with our offense,” commented Zywicki.
Darlington’s win on Friday coupled with Cuba City’s 21-0 defeat of Fennimore sets up another SWAL showdown of unbeatens this Friday as the Redbirds head to O.A. Barth Field to face the #5-ranked Cubans (4-0, 2-0). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“You get to control your own destiny. That’s all you can ask. I told the kids to go out and play like they want it,” Zywicki said. “It’ll come down to the play in the trenches. (Cuba City) has a great offensive line. They move people off the ball. They’re tough.”
Mineral Point… 0 14 7 0 – 21
Darlington……. 20 14 13 10 – 57
D – Conrad Blosch, 2 run (Chad Golackson kick)
D – Brayden McDonald, 70 int. return (kick failed)
D – Trevor Johnson, 51 run (Golackson kick)
MP – Pittz, 16 run (Cox run)
D – T. Johnson, 18 pass from Jared Meister (Golackson kick)
MP – Pittz, 6 run (Cox run)
D – T. Johnson, 9 run (Golackson kick)
D – T. Johnson, 48 run (Golackson kick)
MP – Pittz, 14 run (Cox run)
D – Hunter Johnson, 44 run (kick failed)
D – H. Johnson, 4 run (Golackson kick)
D – Golackson, 21 FG
Team Stats: First Downs– MP 14; D 13. Rushing– MP 45-197; D 45-392. Passing– MP 5-19-3, 65; D 1-5-0, 18. Fumbles-Lost– MP 1-1; D 1-1. Penalties– MP 3-25, D 1-5.
Darlington: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Trevor Johnson, 15-218-3; Hunter Johnson, 12-104-1. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Jared Meister, 1-5-0-1, 18. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– T. Johnson, 1-18-1.