By Brad Locke
MOOREVILLE – It only took Mooreville a couple of series to figure out Belmont’s Wing-T offense. Belmont never did solve Josh Johnson.
Johnson, a junior tailback, rushed for 247 yards and six touchdowns as Mooreville took a 55-28 homecoming win Friday night. He sparked the Troopers’ 290-yard rushing effort.
Mooreville’s offensive line provided plenty of running lanes for Johnson, who had 195 yards and four TDs by halftime, when his team led 35-14.
“They’re going to play a 50 (scheme), and we kind of thought we could hurt them with some stuff,” Mooreville coach Kevin Austin said. “We didn’t run very many plays, kind of done the same thing over and over, and we were able to block them well.”
The Troopers (4-1), who’ve won four in a row, had to trade blows early on, as Belmont (3-1) struck first with Jordan Powell’s 3-yard touchdown run at the 10-minute, 8-second mark of the first quarter. That was set up by an interception by defensive back Colin Harris.
Johnson got in the end zone twice, and then Powell raced 65 yards to tie it at 14-14 after one quarter.
Then it was Johnson again from 12 yards on a hip-swiveling run through the meat of Belmont’s defense. Quarterback Griff Loftis had a 14-yard scoring run, followed by another Johnson TD (7 yards) to close out a strong second quarter.
“Mooreville, they just got after us and dominated us on both sides of the football,” Belmont coach Kerry Moody said. “We just got whipped.”
Grounded by turnovers
The Cardinals finished with 181 yards, all on the ground, and turnovers began piling up in the second half. Belmont lost four fumbles and an interception.
After gaining 70 yards on its first two possessions, Belmont had only 25 until fourth quarter garbage time.
Mooreville defensive tackle Quadzing Rodgers was a disruptive force.
“Q, he’s a four-year starter. Everybody’s been talking about the Wing-T, and he kind of took it upon himself that it wasn’t going to happen here,” Austin said.
Mooreville was No. 3 in the Journal’s Class 3A rankings; Belmont was No. 4.