By MATT PARRINO
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — McKinley ran for 409 yards thanks in large part to the explosive running of senior running back tandem Stephen Johnson and Reyjzon Jordan and North Tonawanda couldn't keep up, losing 48-32 at George Vetter Stadium Friday night.
The Jacks (1-5, 1-5 Class A) shot out to an early 14-0 lead and had McKinley on its heels. Sophomore quarterback Chris Woodard found running back Christian Mahoe in the back of the endzone for a 22-yard touchdown and on McKinley's first offensive possessions the Macks fumbled, giving NT a short field. The Jacks cashed in on a two-yard Nehemiah Stone touchdown run.
That's when McKinley woke up.
The Macks scored 34 unanswered points — five straight touchdowns — and ran away with the win after an early scare.
Jacks coach Tony Truilizio said that despite the loss, it's been a long time since he was so proud of one of his teams.
"The seniors played lights out," he said. "We just did some great things, both offensively and defensively … Did we lose the game? Yes. Did we have turnovers? Yes. But character, strength and just the overall game was absolutely phenomenal … The right team showed up so I'm very proud of them."
McKinley forced seven Jacks turnovers and made NT pay for its mistakes.
Jordan went out with an injury in the first half, but not before he racked up 155 yards and a highlight reel touchdown run of 75 yards. The senior did his best Marshawn Lynch impression, throwing NT defenders out of his way, breaking four open field tackles en route to the endzone.
Johnson picked up right where his partner left off, finishing with 147 yards on four carries. On his first touchdown run he had about six NT defenders surrounding him in the backfield, but the senior speedster miraculously found a way out of trouble and reversed the field, taking it all the way down the right sideline.
"I just seen what had to be like six North Tonawanda players and I got away from one and I had a bunch of blockers coming," Johnson said. "I used my speed and got around the corner. I broke a tackle and scored. I don't know how I did it, myself."
The Jacks got a big rushing performance of their own out of fullback Jon Zellner who went for 109 yards. Truilizio was thrilled for his back and appreciates the way he plays the game.
"Jon did a tremendous time today, I mean a 100 yard game for a fullback in weather like this and he's coming back next year — I'm excited," Truilizio said. "I'm excited. Jon played his heart out and he was our unsung hero all season long. Not a lot of press or statistics, but what a game to come out and play."
NT running back Nehemiah Stone rushed for only 24 yards but scored two touchdowns in the game. Woodard threw two touchdowns and totaled 81 yards. McKinley quarterback Jamar Rutledge completed only six passes in the game but three of them went for touchdowns. He added 52 yards on the ground.Find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports.