It’s an unwritten rule at Goose Creek High School. The second man on the depth chart is expected to compete like the top guy.
Clearly, Tyrik Johnson was ready.
In place of injured Shrine Bowl selection Caleb Kinlaw, Johnson racked up 222 yards and five touchdowns in the Gators’ 49-21 win over visiting West Ashley on Thursday night.
“He is a special guy,” GCHS coach Chuck Reedy said. “He’s done this all year. It was interesting to see what he was going to do when he got a lot of carries. He showed tonight he’s a guy that can break the game open.”
Johnson, a junior, carried the ball 20 times and scored on runs of 42, 22, 59, 6 and 2 yards in leading the Gators to their 36th straight victory overall. A handful of his totes featured some slick moves to elude would-be tacklers.
He has shined in other appearances this fall but hadn’t been asked to carry the ball more than nine times in one game. A majority of his previous 48 carries came in the second half of blowouts and he torched second-team defenses. He has racked up 995 yards this season in sharing a spot with Kinlaw, who has 1,066 yards.
“He’s an exciting player,” Reedy said.
Goose Creek improved to 10-0 overall and 3-0 in Region 7-AAAA heading into Friday’s epic showdown at rival Stratford.
Johnson was one of four backups thrust into a starter’s role. Defensive end Kalan Ritchie, fullback Evan McField and defensive back Andre Rhodes also missed the game.
“The guys who stepped in did a great job,” Reedy said. “We challenged them to step up and play like champions, and that’s what they did. That’s what we expect.”
McField’s backup, Darin McNeal, rushed for 55 yards on nine carries.
The Gators finished with 510 yards of total offense, with 410 coming in their trademark running game. Quarterback Dantez Bennamon tacked on 67 yards on the ground, while backup quarterback Dominique Jefferson got loose for a 31-yard touchdown on his only carry in the fourth quarter.
Bennamon also completed 7 of 11 passes for 109 yards. His 28-yard scoring strike to Deondre Daniels in the first quarter answered West Ashley’s surprising first score on its opening drive. Daniels finished with five receptions for 68 yards.
Johnson’s first two scores gave the Gators a 21-7 lead at halftime and then he put the Wildcats away with the 59-yarder just over a minute into the second half.
Reedy applauded his team for not looking past West Ashley despite knowing Stratford was next in line.
“This team has done a great job of playing to a high level each week,” Reedy said. “We haven’t played our best each week but we’ve played at a high enough level to win.”