ROCKINGHAM — All week Montek Johnson was preparing for Lumberton at his normal wide receiver position, then five hours before kickoff he got the news — he was starting at quarterback.
Johnson stepped in for injured starter Brent Flowers and led Richmond Senior to a 55-6 Southeastern Conference victory Friday night at Raider Stadium.
“I was nervous,” Johnson said about his first varsity start under center. “I overcame it, calmed myself and played like I did on JV last year. On the first pass I was really nervous, I couldn’t even throw it.”
Despite leading the Raiders to the win, Johnson wants it to be a one-time thing starting at quarterback for Flowers.
“Right now, I hope to have him back next week,” he said.
After underthrowing Raheem Bowden on that initial attempt, Johnson finished 5-for-13 on the night for 96 yards and two interceptions. He also ran for another 17.
“We had to simply things for Montek,” Richmond coach Paul Hoggard said. “Once we got going we tried to do a little more. Some good, some not so good. We didn’t know Brent wasn’t going to playing until 2:30 today. We basically got Montek ready during walk-through yesterday just in case we didn’t have Brent. We thought all week Brent was going to play.”
Johnson had seen some action at quarterback this season, but only in mop-up duty and he had not attempted a pass all season.
In addition to getting assistance with a water-downed playbook, Richmond’s defense helped put Johnson and the rest of the offense in good position in begin their first four possessions. The Raiders started all four of those drives inside of Lumberton’s 40-yard line and all resulted in touchdowns, two by Diquon Cox and one each by Miles Grant and Shavar Little.
The Raider defense limited the Pirates to 41 yards in the first half and forced two turnovers. Lumberton finished the contest with 232 yards of total offense.
“Two weeks in a row we played pretty good defense,” Hoggard said. “Hopefully we can continue to grow on that.”
Cox finished with a game-high 125 yards on 10 carries and four touchdowns. He scored on runs of 1, 16, 25 and 56 yards. Little added 63 yards and two scores. Grant had 61 yards and two touchdowns after sitting out last week’s win over Purnell Swett.
“Goodness Tank (Cox) is back,” Hoggard said. “He really had his legs under him tonight.”
Lumberton’s lone touchdown came as a result of a Johnson interception. Johnson attempted a screen pass at the Lumberton 29, but Demetri Sheridan picked off the attempt and returned it to the Richmond 13. Three plays later, Austin Foley lofted a pass to Mario Alonzo in the back of the end zone for the score.
Richmond improves to 8-1 overall and 3-0 in the SEC. Lumberton remains winless at 0-9 and 0-3.
Stinson is the sports editor of the Richmond County Daily Journal.