By Wes Kerr
It was the Brandon Howard show Friday night at Thomas Heyward Academy in Ridgeland. The senior did it all on homecoming night, accounting for four touchdowns with 14 tackles and a pick on defense as the Rebels rolled past John Paul II, 46-6.
After losing starting quarterback Dietrich Shuford to a season-ending injury two weeks ago, Howard stepped up again in a big way, taking five carries for 56 yards and two touchdowns while completing three of eight passes for 84 yards and two scores.
Anthony Fripp anchored the ground game, running for 107 yards on 14 carries, and Tony O’Banner excelled as a versatile playmaker, racking up 51 yards and a touchdown to go with a 38-yard reception. Ryder Smith dashed to the end zone on a 10-yard run, while Cutter Williams and Cody Parker added a pair of touchdown catches each.
The Rebels defense shut down a JPII attack that put up 76 points the previous two weeks, holding the Golden Warriors to fewer than 150 total yards. Howard was a force at linebacker, recording 14 tackles and an interception. Walker Taylor and Cameron VanGeison each put up 10 tackles while Cody Parker added six stops and picked off a pass. The ferocious defense was busy in the backfield, as Taylor, Josh Alfonso, and Preston Hamilton each picked up a sack.
Michael Carbone and Sebastian Slusne led the defensive effort for John Paul II with nine tackles each.
Thomas Heyward (5-1, 1-0) travels to Colleton Prep for a region contest Friday, while John Paul II (2-3, 1-0) looks for a bounce-back win at home against Northwood