By MIKE POTTER
WENDELL – Garner got a total team effort and won the championship of the Greater Neuse River 4-A conference with an exclamation point.
A.J. Clanton rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries while quarterback Lemond Johnson passed for one touchdown and ran for another in a 63-6 romp over East Wake on the Warriors’ Senior Night at Johnny Sasser Stadium.
The win improved Garner to 8-2 overall and 6-0 in conference play, while East Wake fell to 2-8 and 2-4.
Garner has won six straight in the series, including the 30-27 overtime thriller last season.
“It was another complete game,” veteran Garner coach Nelson Smith said. “We scored on offense, we scored on defense and we came close to scoring on kicking game. I was real worried about last week’s game, that big win (21-10 at Southeast Raleigh) and what type of frame of mind we’d be in, but we came out in the first quarter and weren’t flat. The kids responded. We ran the ball, we threw the ball well, and defense played another outstanding game.”
Garner collected two fumble recoveries for touchdowns and a safety along the way.
The contest was over after the first quarter, as the Trojans exploded to a 35-0 lead.
The Trojans took only two plays to score their first touchdown after East’s Chris Pernell fumbled at his own 38 and Bernard Owens recovered. Johnson hit
Juwan Moye on a 25-yard scoring pass.
Garner’s next drive went 54 yards in three plays, with Clanton carrying every time including the three-yard scoring run.
Hinton’s 20-yard run completed a two-play, 36-yard drive, and then Johnson scored on a two-yard run on the third play of a march that began with an 82-yard Clanton sprint.
“We just hooked up together and played real well,” said the sophomore quarterback Johnson, who picked up 66 yards on seven carries. “The championship
feels great. Coach was talking about us playing hard, and he didn’t want it to be close against them this year like all the rest of the years. We came out and played hard and did our thing. Our offense could be better, but it was clicking
very well today.”
Andre Gillispie added a nine-yard fumble return for a score, and Connor Torruella’s fifth conversion kick made it 35-0 with just under 10 minutes
elapsed. Joshua Bullock added the other fumble return touchdown on a 65-yard sprint in the second quarter.
East Wake got its score in the final minute on a 32-yard pass from Alex Cowan to Sam Boylston.
Pernell completed six of 19 passes for 98 yards with one interception for the Warriors, who got 56 yards on 15 carries from Mike Engles.
Garner will complete regular-season play on Friday night against Harnett
Central, while East Wake will end its season the same night at Knightdale.