OAKWOOD — Were it not for one 7:29 span in the second quarter Friday night, maybe the story would be different for the Johnson High football team. Maybe the Knights could have picked up their second victory of the season.
But football is a game of four quarters, 48 minutes and not just 40:31. And what Creekview did — and how quickly the Grizzlies did it — during that 7½-minute span in a 51-14 victory at Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium is what seemed to leave the Knights shellshocked.
Johnson (1-5) gave up 37 points in the stretch, the eventual winning margin for visiting Creekview (4-1).
"It’s one of those things," said Knights coach Paul Friel, who only dressed 33 players. "The team, the kids, just gets emotional when one thing happens or another. Sure, we were banged up but we have to play no matter what."
It all started to unravel for Johnson midway through the second period when Creekview scored six times in the final 7:29 of the first half. Michael Ay started it with a 79-yard touchdown run, and quarterback Cody Allen threw two touchdown passes in a 4:54 span — a 33-yard pass to Justin Wright and a 31-yard strike in the back-right corner of the end zone to Dillon Mulkey.
The two also connected on a 3-yard score at the end of the first quarter.
In between, the Grizzlies tackled Johnson’s Anthony Prophet in the end zone for a safety on a kickoff return. Livingston scored on a 49-yard run on the first play of the ensuing drive.
"That made some good adjustments (in the second quarter) and found some of our weak spots," Johnson junior linebacker Taylor Whitmire said. "We hung our heads and we shouldn’t have. And we started to get after each other and yell at each other. We’re a better team than that."
Field position played a key role. All but one of Creekview’s touchdown drives started in Johnson territory, and the average starting spot for the Grizzlies’ last four drives was the Knights’ 37.
Big plays didn’t help: Johnson allowed six plays of more than 15 yards in the opening half.
"We gave up and people did play as hard as they could, even me," said Johnson senior tackle EJ Wright. "Things just didn’t work out. We were fine for a little bit and then just gave up."
Senior quarterback Prophet, who was 2-of-10 passing, scored Johnson’s first touchdown on an 86-yard run on a keeper with a little more than two minutes left in the third quarter.
Junior fullback Mantevius Rucker also had a 16-yard jaunt late in the fourth quarter. But it wasn’t nearly enough. Well, it might have been except for those pesky seven minutes and 29 seconds.
"Our kids understand what happened," Friel said. "We jumped on them pretty good at halftime, and we came out and played them fairly even in the third quarter. We had to come out and play hard; that’s the only way we’re going to get better."