SMITHFIELD — West Johnston wasted no time in setting the tone for this season, its first under coach Jimmy Williams, as the Wildcats cruised past Smithfield-Selma 59-7 Friday night at Charles T. Tucker Stadium.
With a renewed focus on running the ball, first to set up the pass, West Johnston executed its game plan to perfection.
Cameron Williams rushed for 68 yards and three scores as the Wildcats finished with 236 yards on the ground.
With Williams chewing up yards, sophomore quarterback Jarvin Holder was able to attack the Spartans’ defense through the air.
When Holder did look to throw, big-play threat Tre Fredrick was the preferred target as Fredrick caught four passes for 72 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half.
“We did have a plan,” Jimmy Williams said of his team’s focus on controlling the ball on the ground before utilizing Holder’s arm. “All in all, we followed through with the plan.
“We’ve got a long way to go, but this was a great start for this program.”
Holder finished with 98 yards passing and 71rushing.
As West Johnston maneuvered down the field at will, Smithfield-Selma’s offense was held in check.
Complicating matters for the Spartans were two first-half interceptions and a pair of lost fumbles that led to 22 first-half West Johnston points as Smithfield-Selma fell behind 45-0 at halftime.
Quarterback Chris Famuels led the Spartans with 41 yards on 14 carries and was responsible for Smithfield-Selma’s lone score – a 1-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.
Raequan Smith added 34 yards rushing and grabbed two passes for 8 yards for a Smithfield-Selma offense that faced bad field position all night long.
West Johnston kicker Alex Mattes was solely responsible for the Spartans’ bad field position as the senior’s seven touchbacks helped prevent Smithfield-Selma from getting anything going offensively in the first half.
“Defensively speaking, our kicking game really helped us tonight,” Williams said. “Alex Mattes had a great night banging the ball in the end zone.”
In addition to the touchbacks, Mattes connected from 45 yards out in the second quarter and converted 6 of 7 extra point tries.
The second quarter was a big one for the Wildcats as they stretched out the lead with 32 points punctuated by Holder’s third strike to Fredrick, this time a 26-yard pass down the sideline on a 4th-and-8 with 17 seconds left.
Smithfield-Selma travels to take on Southern Wayne next week while West Johnston hosts another county rival in South Johnston.