A sizzling start to the season.
On the eve of International Bacon Day, the London High School football team learned what every true bacon lover knows — greatness is worth waiting for.
After waiting nearly three hours for their home opener due to several lightning delays, the Red Raiders are living high on the hog after a convincing 55-6 victory over visiting Greenon Friday at Bowlus Field.
It was the second consecutive victory for London as it defeated Urbana in Week 1. The two straight wins to start the season have gone a long way in curing the ills of the recent past.
The star of the night was London senior Michael Johnson whose first half statistics were video game-like with 232 yards on nine carries — six of them for touchdowns. The half dozen TDs gives Johnson a share of the school record with Jake Burns and Carl King Jr.
“Michael has some great skills, but he will tell you the key to success is that a team isn’t about just one person,” London coach Kyle Cutler said. “It is his running, the line blocking and the backs and receivers doing their jobs that make those plays work.”
The Red Raiders certainly had it all working on Johnson’s first carry of the night as he took a handoff near midfield and scampered in for a 47-yard touchdown, seemingly without breaking a sweat.
Johnson gave the Knights fits when Greenon had the ball as well as he was a part of a stellar defense — led by Andrew Hoffman, Colten Winters, and others — that held the visitors to just a handful of yards in the first two quarters.
On their second series, London proved it was not one-dimensional as Red Raiders quarterback Josh Handley connected with receiver Jordan Cain on a 10-yard scoring strike. Another PAT by Miller Kronk put the home team ahead 14-0.
Handley looked comfortable in the pocket the entire night as Cutler’s scheme had London passing a lot on first down. The Red Raiders signal-caller was aided by solid line play, tough catches hauled in by Zane Foucht and a certain talented tailback Greenon had to keep an eye on.
“We were going to take whatever they were going to give to us,” Cutler said of the Knights.
It was an evening of give and take — Johnson being given the ball and taking it to the end zone.
The next four times the London speedster touched the ball, he found paydirt, scoring from 6, 39, 57 and 21 yards, respectively.
As the first half was winding down, Johnson was chasing history.
The Red Raiders’ Foucht started the late second quarter drive with a nifty one handed catch for a gain of 19 yards.
Then, as the clock expired to signify the end of the second quarter, Johnson once again wove through the Knight defense — this time from 20 yards out and the record-tying score.
With the Red Raiders holding such a big lead, the continuous clock rule was in effect the entire second half. London used the opportunity to give some varsity game experience to most of those on its roster.
“The second half was good for me to see,” Cutler said of getting players on the field. “We’re going to build a program here, so it is important for me to see those things.”
London put across one more score in the second half as quarterback Garrett Warner connected with Jermiah Thurman from 7 yards away. The feet of Red Raiders running back Aaron Cremeens did the majority of the ground gaining on the drive.
Greenon’s lone score came on a short TD run with just 20 seconds remaining in the contest.
The victory puts London at 2-0 as it travels to Columbus DeSales High School next Friday to take on Bishop Ready. And while the current undefeated record is nice, it seems as though the coach literally wants his team to focus and remain hungry for what is ahead.
“We are focusing on each game,” Cutler said. “We see the plate on the table, and we are concentrating on one meal at a time.”
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