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On a night where fumbles and penalties were everywhere to be seen, two things became clear for the Johnson Knights: a new attitude and a sense of winning are on the horizon.
For the first time since 2007, the Knights won their first two games to open the season. Despite three turnovers Friday night, including two in their own red-zone, and three missed extra points, Johnson (2-0) defeated Oglethorpe County 36-21.
“Attitude’s the biggest thing. Everything starts with attitude,” Johnson head coach Jason Roquemore said. “We talk about leadership reflects attitude; attitude equals effort.
“Our kids have bought into that. We have great senior leadership. Our coaches (and staff) have done a tremendous job and our student body.They’re excited about being 2-0. That’s a big deal. Football impacts school culture. To have them on board, it’s been a great experience.”
The Knights were led by senior running back Cedric Harris, who led all rushers with 257 yards and five touchdowns.
“It feels great. I’m exhausted,” Harris said.
Oglethorpe County (0-1, 0-0 8-AA) was led by senior quarterback Kendrick Presley, who rushed for 30 yards and scored the team’s three touchdowns.
In the first quarter, Harris got things started with his 46-yard touchdown run that put Johnson ahead 6-0. Johnson and Oglethorpe scored 31 combined points in the second quarter.
Oglethorpe started the scoring barrage when Presley sprinted in for a 2-yard score for a 7-6 lead.
After a Johnson fumble, Presley again scrambled, this time on a 9-yard score, boosting Oglethorpe’s lead to eight.
Johnson responded with a 31-yard field goal from kicker Isaac Henry.
However, on the ensuing kickoff, Johnson recovered a fumble on the Oglethorpe County 16-yard line. One play later, Harris scored his second touchdown, and he was on the receiving end of a pass from senior quarterback Paul Barker for the 2-point conversion, giving Johnson the lead at 17-14.
Johnson marched downfield just before halftime, and Harris scored his third touchdown of the game on an 11-yard run. The score put Johnson on top 23-14 at the half.
After a scoreless third quarter, the fourth quarter started off with a Presley touchdown, his third of the game.
On Johnson’s next possession, Harris scored his fourth touchdown of the game on a 63-yard run. The score gave Johnson a 29-21 lead.
Johnson fumbled with 6:11 left, but was able to create a turnover of its own, recovering an Oglethorpe fumble with just over four minutes left in the game. A couple of plays later, Harris had his fifth touchdown.
“A lot of mistakes made by both teams, and they did a great job capitalizing on them,” Oglethorpe County coach Larry Milligan said. “Their running back (Harris), he can make some things happen for you.”
Next week, Johnson heads to the Brickyard to play the North Hall Trojans. Oglethorpe County hosts Harlem.