Photo: Makhi Johnson on his 70-yard touchdown run Friday night.
Senior running back Makhi Johnson scored four touchdowns and gained 280 yards to lead a balanced rushing attack featuring the return of fellow back junior Ben Jones as Belmont High School Football (4-5) won back-to-back games for the first time this season to defeat Somerville High School, 38-28, on Friday night, Nov. 6 at Somerville’s Dilboy Stadium.
Belmont is expected to host Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School (1-8) at Harris Field on Friday, Nov. 13. A final decision will be made early in the week.
“I thought our guys did a great job staying within themselves and continue to play football,” said Belmont Head Coach Yann Kumin, pointing out the running tandem of Johnson and Jones, “when they are both healthy and together are really a great combination of backs.”
While Johnson was a threat at breaking long runs, scoring on runs of 66 and 70 yards, Jones would power into the middle of the line to grab three to ten yards at a time.
“When [Johnson] has [Jones] as a compliment, and they can trade out the way they did today, our offense gains another dimension, which is nice,” said Kumin.
Belmont took charge on offense and defense from the start of the game against Somerville (1-8). After holding the Highlanders to a single first down to start the game, the Marauders scored on its fourth play as Johnson swept down right sideline 66 yards for the first of his quartet of touchdowns at 6:16 of the first.
On Belmont’s second possession, Belmont’s QB Cal Christofori hooked up with senior wide receiver Trey Butler for eight yards on a fourth down and six yards to the Somerville 24 yard line. A facemask personal foul placed the ball on the 12 before Johnson scored on a one-yard run early in the second quarter.
Senior Grant Gilbert, who made several tackles in the backfield, had the individual play of the game by hustling downfield on kickoff coverage and causing a fumble and recovery that directly led to Belmont’s third touchdown, a 15-yard run up the middle by Johnson.
After Somerville had driven the field on a five-minute drive to score, Johnson took a pitch from Christofori and outran the Highlander team down the right sideline for a 70 yard TD, which gave Belmont a 28-6 lead at the half.
The Marauder took the second half kickoff and using Johnson and Jones as battering rams set up Christofori’s pass to senior wide receiver Joe Shaunnessey for a 30-yard touchdown and a 35-6 lead.
While Belmont connected on a field goal by sophomore Aidan Cadogan, they were outscored by Somerville 21 to 10 in the half.
“One of the things we need to focus on in our progression as a team is putting teams away,”
“When we have a three, four touchdown lead we have to learn how to lock it down on defense to enable to keep our advantage,” he said.
Still, Kuman was pleased with the defense on the night.
“We made some big defensive stops when we needed to,” said Kuman, including “sniffing out” a screen pass that linebacker Justin Wagner intercepted late in the fourth quarter.
With one game before the Thanksgiving game against Watertown (6-3) – which will be playing in the Div. 4 Northeast Sectional finals, next week against Stoneham – Kumin is looking to be at 500 with five wins against five losses “when it comes to Turkey Day. We want to come to that game on a high.”