South Pittsburg's Demetric "Little Man" Johnson proved to be too good for his own good in Thursday night's District 6-A high school football game at Lookout Valley.
The senior speedster went to halftime with 237 rushing yards, which had him needing less than half of that to break the school's single-game rushing record in the second half. But instead he ripped off scoring runs of 22 and 50 yards in the third quarter for a 29-point lead, which got him a seat on the bench to watch the rest of the Pirates' 69-27 victory over the Yellow Jackets.
Although Johnson fell shy of Johnny Sisco's record of 339 yards set in 1985, he did tie Sam Pickett's school single-game mark with six touchdowns. His first four TD runs covered 7, 14, 73 and 74 yards. He finished with 309 yards on 14 carries, and made it look easy.
"It's never that easy," Johnson said. "I've got to give it to the line. The things we practiced on are what really did help. Holes were everywhere. They were pretty big tonight."
Johnson's total led eight South Pittsburg running backs, and Jajuan Lankford and fullback Corbin Hale topped the 100-yard mark, too. The Pirates' 619 yards from scrimmage -- 425 by halftime -- all came on the ground.
"It's what we do," South Pittsburg coach Vic Grider said. "It's no secret. We've got two special running backs, but I hate to single them out because I think our fullback is who makes it all go. He hurts you inside and we just wear on you.
"I'm just happy Little Man is getting the opportunity to show what he can do. He's battled injuries and last year we thought was going to be his breakout year, but he wasn't healthy until about the eighth or ninth game."
The Yellow Jackets led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter and were within 21-20 with 8:06 to go in the first half after missing the extra point following their third touchdown. South Pittsburg (2-0, 1-0) lost junior lineman Stephon Mitchell to a leg injury on the play, and he had to be removed from the field by ambulance.
Hale broke loose for 56 yards on a quick opener that pushed the Pirates' lead to eight. Lankford and Johnson added long scoring runs before the half ended and that signaled the beginning of the end.
"It's not just their speed," Lookout Valley coach Tony Webb said. "They're physical and they're well-coached, too. You've got to score with them a little bit this year, and it's hard to do. I thought we did some pretty good things, but they're good and a lot bigger than we are."
Quarterback Vann Scribner led Lookout Valley (2-1, 0-1) with 96 yards on 11 carries and had touchdown runs of 52 and 1 yards. Toney Summerow had the other touchdowns on a 77-yard kickoff return and a 6-yard run. Jamal Jones added 88 yards on 16 carries.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.