Costly turnovers and a key injury severely hurt Wilson’s chances to claim the Narrows 3A title at Lincoln, but the Rams hung tough. Still, Marcus Johnson’s 14-yard touchdown run with under eight minutes to go helped give the Abes a 21-16 win over the Rams on Friday night at Lincoln Bowl.
After Alec Greenleaf had given Wilson a 16-15 lead with a 25-yard field goal with 9:20 left, Johnson responded with a 51-yard kickoff return to set the Abes up at the Rams’ 25-yard line. He strolled in on a sweep to the right side three plays later.
The Abes snuffed out the Rams’ next drive by recovering a fumbled snap by Brandon Scarpaci, Wilson’s third-string quarterback who entered the game due to an injury to starter Julius Yates-Brown. Johnson later ended Wilson’s hopes with an interception with 1:20 remaining.
Wilson committed five turnovers in all on the night, as Rayshaun Miller recovered Yates-Brown’s fumble on Wilson’s first play from scrimmage at the Rams’ 14-yard line. Miller raced in from 10 yards out two plays later to make it 6-0. The Abes added a safety midway through the first quarter when a snap sailed over Wilson punter Brandon Montgomery and out of the end zone. But Wilson responded on their next drive, as Yates-Brown hit Montgomery in stride for a 92-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to cut it to 8-7.
The Abes made it 15-7 midway through the third quarter when Jordan Kitna hit Dehonta Hayes for a 21-yard touchdown on a screen pass. But Isaiah Simpson responded immediately for the Rams, returning the resulting kickoff 78 yards, cutting it to 15-13 after Wilson was stopped short on the two-point conversion.
Simpson, who was held in check for most of the night, ripped off a 45-yard run early in the fourth quarter to help set up Greenleaf’s field goal that gave the Rams a momentary lead. Simpson finished with 18 carries for 81 yards.
Miller had 17 carries for 92 yards for the Abes, while Johnson had nine carries for 52 yards. Kitna finished just 6-for-24 for 99 yards and a touchdown. He was picked off twice late in the first half by Montgomery.
Wilson finishes 4-2 in the Narrows 3A, and will advance to the playoffs if Lincoln wins at Foss next week. The Abes, at 4-1, have secured a playoff spot, while Foss, sitting at 3-2, needs to win over Lincoln next week to advance to the playoffs.