KANNAPOLIS Assuming the full-time quarterback responsibilities for the first time this season, Kannapolis Brown Wonders quarterback Damon Johnson left his mark on the West Charlotte Lions on Friday.
The sophomore tossed four first half touchdown passes as Brown squashed the visitors 66-14 in a MECKA 4A Conference matchup. The Wonders (7-3 overall, 4-2) broke a two-game losing streak, suffering losses in the previous weeks to Cornelius Hough and Mallard Creek, both state-ranked teams.
West Charlotte (0-10, 0-6) set up a last-chance scenario to claim a victory this season when it faces fellow winless Concord Robinson next week at home.
Johnson, who played sparingly most of the season behind senior starter Andrew Ramirez, filled in nicely for his injured teammate. For the game, Johnson completed 7-of-10 passes for 133 yards, but didn’t attempt a throw after halftime.
“I was ready for the game mentally and physically,” said Johnson. “I was dearly hoping that (Ramirez) was ready to play. He wasn’t, so I had to step up as a sophomore and as a leader and help the team out.”
Eleven Brown ball carriers gained 268 yards. West Charlotte was led by Pralowe Grier’s 147 yards rushing on 24 carries.
The Kannapolis offense failed to score on its first two possessions but was perfect from the end of the first quarter through its first two drives of the third quarter.
Brown’s first touchdown was set up by a bad West Charlotte punt snap that Lions punter Pralowed Grier recovered. But the fast-pursuing Malik Myers dropped him for a 29-yard loss at the West 19-yard line.
On second-and-goal from the 4, Johnson faked a handoff and rolled left. Fullback Gabe Lucero was trailing in the same direction and easily hauled in Johnson’s soft toss for a score.
On West Charlotte’s next punt, the Lions were penalized for tackling the Wonders’ return man after he signaled for a fair catch. Setting up at the West 34, Kannapolis needed just three plays to score.
Johnson’s 30-yard missile to Johnny Delahoussaey over the middle gave the Wonders a 14-0 lead less than two minutes into the second quarter.
Brown’s defense stopped West on a fourth-and-one and took possession at its 45. A 16-yard Johnson pass, and runs of 11 and 14 yards by Daveon Perry and Jalen Cagle, respectively, pushed the ball to the West 24.
On the next play, Johnson dumped a screen pass off to Cagle who cruised down the right sideline for a touchdown.
After Perry’s 66-yard interception return for a score gave Kannapolis a 28-0 lead, Johnson led a 94-yard scoring drive that started with just one minute, five seconds remaining in the half.
Following a 12-yard run by Casey Walker, Johnson completed two passes to Cagle for 42 yards to reach the Lions’ 40. On first down, Johnson stepped twice to the left and threw against his body to reach Rodney Edmonds in the end zone with 34 seconds left.
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