Johnson C. Smith embraced balance to get back on track.
The Golden Bulls racked up 541 yards of offense, including 257 on the ground, to blow past Lincoln (Pa.) 49-10 in a CIAA football game at McGirt Field on Saturday. J.C. Smith, which ran for 32 yards last week in a loss at Virginia State, rebounded behind junior tailback LeAnder Barney, who had 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 15 carries.
“Basically, we got focused. We got back on our game,” said Barney, who added five receptions for 72 yards. “My linemen did a great job blocking, they picked up on their assignments …and just pushed.”
It didn’t take long for the Golden Bulls (4-1, 2-1) to push. Barney opened with scoring runs of 41 and 1 yards for a 14-3 advantage and backup Denzel Hartley (13 carries, 64 yards) added a 9-yard touchdown run. The passing attack, led by quarterback Keahn Wallace (28 for 39, 259 yards and three touchdowns ), took advantage of the run game’s efficiency.
“It kind of helps us stay balanced,” J.C. Smith coach Steve Aycock said. “The offensive line had a falling out this week with Barney. He had some conversation with them and they had to fix that.”
Lincoln (1-4, 0-2) pulled within 14-10 in the second quarter Doug Cook’s 65-yard strike to Akeem Jordan, but J.C. Smith broke the game open with a pair of touchdowns within 55 seconds. Hartley’s run pushed the Golden Bulls’ lead to 11 with 1 minute, 35 seconds left in the quarter, and Damion Miles’ interception return resulted in Wallace’s 5-yard connection with Avius Capers (Independence High) 39 seconds ahead of intermission.
“We made a couple of mistakes earlier in the quarter and I was like, ‘Coach I’m going to make this play, watch me make this pick,’” said Miles, who added six tackles and a pass breakup. “It just came to me.”
The Golden Bulls, who racked up 35 first downs, didn’t break stride after halftime. Wallace hit Terrell Hutchinson and Evan Jones with touchdown passes and Ardrey Kell High graduate Andrew Alexander added a 7-yarder to Jamaal Livingston to cap the rout. Lincoln gained 366 yards on offense, but couldn’t turn that productivity into points.
“We just knew we had to focus,” Barney said. “We knew we needed this home game and we needed our mindset right. We needed this game to get us there.”
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