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Johnson plows through Josey, Screven takes Region title

    SYLVANIA — Jeremy Johnson accounted for 208 total yards and five touchdowns to lead the Screven County Gamecocks to their first region championship in a decade Friday night, defeating the Josey Eagles 40-12 as members of the 2002 Gamecock state-champion squad watched from the stands.
    “It means a lot,” Gamecocks coach Ron Duncan said. “Our seniors have not had a lot of success over the years and to be able to go out and win a region championship means a lot to our seniors, our team and our community.”
    Screven County (8-1, 5-0) dominated the line of scrimmage and opened up huge running lanes for Johnson and tailback John Kerson as the Gamecocks rushed for 317 yards on the night. Johnson finished with 169 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, while Kerson added 75 yards on eight carries.
    The 2002 team was recognized at halftime for the 10-year anniversary of its state championship run, which saw the Gamecocks go 15-0 and defeat current region foe Dublin for the title.
    “Winning the region in front of them made it extra special,” Duncan said. “We wanted to play well in front of those guys and we may have pressed a little bit early in the game and made some mistakes we haven’t made all year, but we were able to pull together and get the win.”
    Despite going up early on a Kerson two-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Screven County made some uncharacteristic mistakes. Senior Tevin Sneed tried to field a punt after it bounced and was unable to control it, allowing Josey (1-8, 0-5) to recover. Screven County was able to stop the Eagles on fourth down but four plays later, quarterback Aikeem Mingle’s deep pass was intercepted by Josey.
    After again stopping the Eagles, the punt hit a Gamecock player and Josey recovered. Again, the defense stepped up and stopped Josey on a fourth-down attempt.
    From there, however, the Screven County offense began to dominate. The Gamecocks went 68 yards in only six plays, culminating with a Johnson five-yard touchdown run.
    On their next possession, the Gamecocks needed only four plays as Johnson took a pass from Mingle 39 yards for another touchdown.
    Following another stop by the Screven County defense, the Gamecocks went 46 yards on just two plays, with Johnson’s 43-yard score putting Screven County ahead 27-0 at halftime.
    The second half started much like the first half ended with Johnson going 34 yards on the Gamecocks’ second offensive play of the half for his fourth touchdown of the night. He finished the Screven County scoring with a six-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.
    Despite giving up 374 yards on the night, the Gamecock defense was able to keep Josey from ever really mounting a consistent offensive attack. It helped that the Eagles had 16 penalties for 119 yards, which often left them facing second- or third-and-long situations and even resulted in a touchdown being called back late in the second quarter.
    Screven County will close out the regular season next Friday when the Gamecocks travel to Dublin as they seek an undefeated record in region play.