WALTON — Lewis Cass hosted a Northwestern football team that was hungry to end a 15-game losing streak on Friday night.
But Tyson Johnson and the Kings were too much for the Tigers. Johnson had a huge game to lead the Kings to a 15-0 win over the Tigers in a Hoosier Conference East Division game.
Johnson rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries to lead the Kings (2-3, 1-1). He added a 17-yard TD pass to freshman fullback Cooper Frey.
“I thought our line did good, that was the reason I was getting the yards,” Johnson said. “It was just a good team game. We kept our heads all game and played our game.”
Johnson was also all over the place on defense as the Kings were able to pitch a shutout against the Tigers (0-5, 0-2).
“Tyson, he’s a playmaker,” Cass coach Clayton Mannering said. “When things get tough he takes the game into his hands and every team has got to have a guy like that. I’m very glad he’s a King.
“That’s a huge game for us just because our kids see those Northwestern kids all year, so it’s a great rivalry. It’s two struggling teams and which one is going to find a way to win, so I’m very pleased it was us.”
The Kings opened the scoring with a safety after the Tigers had back-to-back bad shotgun snaps, the second of which went into the end zone and was recovered by a Tiger for a safety.
Johnson then had a four-yard TD run to make it 9-0 and his 17-yard TD pass with 10 seconds left in the half gave the Kings a 15-0 lead into halftime.
Mannering was impressed with how the Tigers fought in the second half to keep it a two-score game. The Tigers are coached by Cass grad Austen Robison.
“I was very impressed. We took a 15-0 lead into halftime, thought if we could get a score or two we’d put it away. And boy, we just couldn’t,” Mannering said. “They fought until the end. They’ve got great kids over there and a great coaching staff. They’re on the right track too, fortunately we came out with the win.”
Jake Martin was 8 of 18 passing for 77 yards for the Tigers. A’Marion Conyers had three catches for 27 yards and Logan Caudill added two catches for 24 yards.
Kyle Cardwell led the Northwestern ground attack with 42 yards on 15 carries. Cole Cardwell added 23 yards on three attempts.
Kian Meister added 42 yards rushing on 10 caries for Cass. Frey had 40 yards on 11 totes.
Haden McClain and Keaton Lewellen came up with interceptions on defense for the Kings. Frey and Luke Davis combined for a sack.
Johnson was the star of the game. A defensive starter on last year’s squad that was a top state championship contender in Class 2A, he’s now a key part of the rebuild under Clayton Mannering, the son of legendary coach Scott Mannering, who is now a Cass assistant.
“The young guys are getting in there and getting experience. I’m just having fun right now,” Johnson said. “Each week we’re getting better every single day.”
Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior, transferred in from Winamac last year when his dad took the Cass boys basketball coaching job. Johnson’s first sport is basketball but he’s proven he’s also a good football player and is having fun playing football on Friday nights at Lewis Cass.
“I’m enjoying football. I love it. It’s the best team sport there is,” he said.