After dropping its season opener to Lincoln, the Johnston football team has turned things around and pieced together two straight wins, most recently handing Ponaganset a 44-6 defeat last week.
The Johnston offense sprinted out the gate and would toss four touchdown passes in the first half to mount a 37-6 lead. Quarterback Matt Clements accounted for three while Neari Vasquez tossed another, as the duo is starting to find its rhythm in the two-QB offense.
“We threw four touchdowns in the first half and then we started running at them. Matt Clements and Neari Vasquez have been competing and getting better each day. We’re going to utilize two quarterbacks as much as we can since they both bring so much to the table. We’re going to stick with what works,” said Johnston head coach Joe Acciardo.
Dean Paris would haul in two touchdown passes while Michael Carlino and Jahaziel Rodriguez scored as well. Running back Steven Finegan rushed for 130 yards and scored a touchdown in the win.
Acciardo has also been pleased with the running back tandem of Finegan and Paris and feels that their best football is ahead of them as well.
“Dean does a little bit of everything. He’s one of the smartest players that you could ever have and he’s one of those guys that can take his instructions and go out and do them. He’s a tough kid, can play linebacker, running back, go out for passes, he can do it all. Then with a kid like Finegan, he runs so fast and that puts defenses in a bind,” Acciardo said.
Better execution and remembering the little things were key in the Panthers’ turnaround from the first week.
“We were raw, undisciplined and that’s one of the things that we worked on. We told them, ‘here is the game plan and here’s what you need to do to make it work,’ they just had to execute it,” said Acciardo. “We narrowed some things down and we came out a different team against Rogers. Then we built off that and had an even more effective game against Ponaganset.”
The Panthers have their toughest test to date this weekend when they hit the road to take on defending champion Moses Brown for a 1 p.m. kickoff.