When you score on every drive except for two, and one of those drives ended in the victory formation, chances are you had a very good night. That is exactly how the night went for the King Philip Warriors against the Taunton Tigers in their first divisional game of the year. With quarterback John Dillon hitting his stride and a running attack from Joe Johnston and Christian Flaherty, the Warriors improved to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in the Kelley-Rex Division with a 35-7 win against the Tigers.
After stalling on their first drive of the night, it appeared that the Warriors would be forced to punt around midway though the first quarter. With the Tigers playing the punt off the bounce, a fumble by Taunton and recovery by KP’s Joe Cochrane put the Warriors on the Tigers’ 10-yard line.
After that, the Warriors only needed one play from Johnston (66 yds rushing, 2 TDs) up the right to get the opening score of the game.
KP would increase their lead later in the second quarter when Johnston, Flaherty (84 yds, 1 TD), and Ryan Dunn were able to keep the ball moving on the ground while the clock ticked away. The drive would end with a two-yard rush from Johnston to extend the lead to 13-0 after the failed extra point with 7:46 left in the half.
Taking advantage of the secondary, Dillon nearly doubled his total yards thrown for the season with 134 yards thrown and two touchdowns against Taunton.
“It was good to see J.J. (Dillon) throw the ball, we always knew that we could throw. It was one of those things that they (Taunton) were physical up front so you have to try to get more balance in there,” KP head coach Brian Lee said.
With the Tigers within one score after a rushing touchdown from Domingo Jenkins, a 42 yard pass to Cochrane along with the two point conversion made it a two score game again less than a minute to play in the half.
The Warriors picked up the second half right where they ended the first with a 32 yard pass to Sam McDonald to get to the Tigers’ 22 yard line and then another 15 yard throw to McDonald into the end zone to make it a 27-7 game early in the third quarter. The extra point was no good.
Driving midway though the third, the Warriors killed the Tigers’ momentum when Johnston picked off Taunton quarterback Kyle Maderia on a screen pass to give the Warriors the ball.
“We worked on that, we work on screen recognition so it was nice when you work on something, tell the kid the play’s going to be there, and he executes, it was nice of him to make that play,” Lee said.
The game was locked up on the first play of the fourth quarter when Christian Flaherty broke away for a 52-yard rushing touchdown that all but guaranteed a win for the Warriors. The two-point conversion pass from Dillon to Dunn was good to lockup a KP win.
“As we go everyone’s gotta step up and do their part and Christian has done a nice job of coming in and giving Joey (Johnston) a break when he needs it,” Lee said.
Next week will be the battle of the unbeaten as the Warriors host the 5-0 Sharon Eagles.