Adam Johnson helps John I. Leonard upset Royal Palm Beach
Thursday, September 06, 2012
by Matt Porter
John I. Leonard quarterback Adam Johnson put on a show for most of Thursday's matchup against fifth-ranked Royal Palm Beach. While his quarterback counterpart, Wildcats senior Ant McGrew, nearly had the final word, Johnson and the Lancers scored a 21-16 upset at home.
Johnson completed 12-of-26 passes for 216 yards and ran for two touchdowns. In the fourth quarter, he threw a 43-yard strike to sophomore Tavares Martin that proved to be the winning score.
The Lancers (2-0), who stunned Royal Palm a year ago on the road, proved their early success is no fluke. Johnson, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior, showed he belongs with the best signal-callers in the area.
"He's a real quarterback," Martin said. "He proved to the county that he can lead the team with the weapons he has. We never doubted him."
McGrew showed his talent as well. Trying to mount a five-point comeback with 4:20 left, he went 5-of-6 on a 78-yard drive in the final 4:20.
His last pass was an overthrown, fourth-down fade to the end zone, letting the Lancers take over with seconds remaining, sealing the upset in a game that was delayed 45 minutes because of lightning.
The Lancers, who put up 76 points and allowed none in a kickoff classic against Martin County and a season-opening win against Jupiter, won another game without head coach Wayne Monroe.
Monroe, who shattered his elbow in an accident at school Aug. 24, had elbow replacement surgery Thursday and stayed overnight at an area hospital.
"We dedicated this win to him," Leonard acting coach Lou Gaudio said.
Johnson rushed 17 times for 68 yards, including 5- and 1-yard touchdown runs. But his mobility was of most use when he danced around Royal Palm's stout defense, extending plays and using his strong arm to hit receivers downfield.
Martin, a 6-foot-2, 175-pound sophomore, dropped three passes - Lancers receivers dropped five in total - but made up for it by sneaking behind coverage and hauling in a strike from Johnson with 4:25 left. He finished with five catches for 115 yards.
"I just put it in my head I had to make up for it," Martin said.
"Coach told me, 'T, that's what you do in practice. You make those type of catches.' "
Aside from the drops, penalties hurt the Lancers, who had 11 flags for 125 yards.
For Royal Palm, McGrew finished 10-of-15 for 115 yards. He threw a first-quarter TD pass to senior JoJo Williams and rushed for a 24-yard score in the fourth. Though he shined on the final drive, John I. had a little more.
Linebacker Edens Merius sacked McGrew for a loss of 5 on first down, and the Wildcats couldn't punch it in.
"Now," said ESPN 760 radio analyst Doug Socha, who coaches the upstart program at Oxbridge Academy, "can they handle it? Can they come back Monday and practice with a purpose?"
That's a question the Lancers can't wait to answer.
John I. Leonard quarterback Adam Johnson runs the ball in for a touchdown in the second quarter of the game Thursday night.