When Robert E. Lee tailback De’Willis Rivers ripped off a 32-yard run against the Carver defense, followed by a 23-yard sprint to the end zone, G.W. Carver coach Billy Gresham had a teaching moment for his Wolverines in the postgame huddle.
“We just had a talk with our young guys, our second- and third-team guys,” Gresham said. “When you get in the football game, it’s not just to get out there and tell your mama and daddy you played football. We’re out there to execute the offense, the defense and the kicking game. We expect a lot out of those guys. We grade them just as hard as we do the seniors, juniors and guys who start. We expect those guys to play well, and we were disappointed in that tonight.”
It was hard to find the negatives in Carver’s 67-21 win over Lee on Thursday night at Cramton Bowl. The Wolverines (6-1) scored on eight of their first nine possessions before sending the starters to the sidelines for the remainder of the game, allowing the Generals (1-6) to score a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.
The only possession that didn’t result in a touchdown for the starters actually led to a Lee touchdown when Dalrius Fields intercepted a Jeremy Johnson pass and returned it 82 yards to the Carver 4-yard line. Four consecutive quarterback sneaks by Lyndell Wilson finally found the end zone and Devon Detamphayvanh’s extra point gave the Generals a short-lived 7-6 lead with 5:12 remaining in the first quarter.
Johnson, who is committed to play at Auburn next year, was otherwise flawless as he completed 12 of 13 passes for 203 yards and five touchdowns.
“We just found the open area,” Johnson said. “The one ball I threw the interception on, I got hit and that’s why I threw the ball short, but we just prepared great.”
Johnson also scored on a 16-yard run in the second quarter to give the Wolverines a 39-7 halftime lead. He finished with 22 yards on five carries, part of a 404-yard rushing effort by Carver.
“Jeremy did a good job of making the right reads and the right throws,” Gresham said. “We saw some things on film we felt like we could take advantage of and we executed very well. (Lee) coach (Tyrone) Rogers is doing a great job with those guys, and it’s going to take some time to get his attitude and his system in there.”
The win was the 11th straight for the Wolverines in a series once dominated by Lee and the most points ever scored against a Carver team against Lee. It also ensured the Wolverines (4-1) will stay on top of the Class 6A, Region 3 rankings as the other one-loss teams square off tonight, with Central-Phenix City playing Auburn and Opelika playing Smiths Station.
“We know this win automatically puts us in the playoffs,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to see if Auburn beats Phenix City which could give us the region championship. Next week will be a big one to seal the deal for us.”
Carver plays host to Smiths Station next Friday at Cramton Bowl and wraps up region play the following week at home against Sidney Lanier. Lee dropped to 1-4 in region play and is eliminated from playoff contention. The Generals play host to Auburn High next Thursday.