After several solid but unimpressive offensive showing to start the season, Junction City football needed to show offensive improvement against a very beatable Topeka West team.
That task was made even more difficult with senior starting Blue Jay quarterback David Rowell out for the game due to injury but Junction City found a way to overcome that and rise to the occasion, finding the end zone nine times throughout the game, dismantling the Chargers 54-16. .
“It was a good win,” Zimmerman said. “We stepped up in a lot of areas – getting up to a faster offensive start offensively. We still had some silly mistakes in the first half offensively, penalties that were stopping drives. Overall, I think we took a step forward tonight.”
Xavion Felton, starting at quarterback in place of Rowell, got the Blue Jays offense going from the first drive of the game. Felton had a few big passes to march the offense down the field to set up a short rushing touchdown from senior Randall Banks.
A short kickoff following the touchdown was kicked short to about Topeka West’s 35-yard line, hit the turf and then Junction City (4-1) was able to hop on the ball to gain possession for a short field which the hosts took advantage of as Felton found junior running back TJ Jones for a passing touchdown inside the 10-yard line to take an early 13-0 lead.
That was the beginning of the dominant night for the Blue Jays. It took less than seven minutes of game time for the hosts to gain a multi-possession lead.
Topeka West (1-4) marched to Junction City’s 20-yard line, but the visitors decided to keep its offense on the field on 4th down and they were unable to convert.
The Blue Jays capitalized again, and the short field drive ended with a rushing touchdown from Felton from inside the five-yard line to extend the lead to 20-0.
“We had a decent lead at halftime,” Zimmerman said. “The second half I was really proud of our young kids who came in and knew what was going on and played hard.”
The second half started with a big defensive play for Junction City.
Junior cornerback Donque Williams stepped into the throwing lane of Topeka West’s quarterback and caught an interception at midfield and returned the ball to Topeka West’s nine-yard line.
Felton then found the end zone again on a short rush from the shotgun to extend the lead to 27-0.
On the following offensive possession, Felton found junior wide receiver Tyree Holloway for a 45-yard touchdown pass to take a 34-0 lead.
As the lead kept increasing, Zimmerman entered his second and third string players into the game. As a result, Felton was able to connect with tight end Logan Davis for his first touchdown reception of his career. The hosts were in a strong command, 41-0.
“Logan really had a nice night,” Zimmerman said. “He is just trying to figure that tight end spot out. He had a couple catches in the first half, but he had a better second half. He was getting in the right position more often.”
Topeka West was able to avoid the shutout and got its first points in the final minute of the third quarter with a long rushing touchdown and a two-point conversion and then added another touchdown and two-point conversion. But other than that, the night belonged to the Blue Jays.
The hosts added two more touchdowns to eclipse 50 points.
Felton had a big game starting at quarterback in Rowell’s absence and Zimmerman said he was pleased with how he played, but there is still room for improvement.
“Xavion will get to where he is throwing (the ball) with a lot more crispness,” Zimmerman said. “He was trying to guide (the ball) too much tonight. He has a very strong arm. He knows where to go with the ball. He just needs to go there. We are just going to continue to look for improvement each day and each game out.”
Junction City will next host Topeka High (2-3) Thursday.