Kenwood’s Davonte Johnson (4) runs with the football in the first half against Morgan Park’s McKinley Dunigan (44). | Quinn Harris/For the Sun-Times
Davonte Johnson had 19 carries for 158 yards and one touchdown. He had a few highlight reel runs but also managed to get the tough short yards.
Injuries can create opportunities. That’s exactly what happened for Kenwood junior Davonte Johnson.
There are more than a dozen players in the Public League with college scholarship offers. Plenty of them were playing in the Kenwood vs. Morgan Park game on Saturday at Lane.
Johnson is not one of them, but he was the dazzling, dominant force in the Broncos’ 21-8 win against the Mustangs.
Johnson stepped into a starting role after Taylen Goodwin was injured in Week 2 against Hillcrest.
“I think sitting made him appreciate the game a little more,” Kenwood coach Sinque Turner said. “He came out and erupted. That’s what we expected out of him. He’s a very talented young man. He seized the moment when he got his opportunity.”
Johnson had 19 carries for 158 yards and one touchdown. He had a few highlight reel runs but also managed to get the tough short yards.
“I came in and did my job,” Johnson. “I felt great out there. This win means a lot. They were talking a lot on the internet and we had to show them we were the best.”
Johnson’s 14-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter opened the scoring.
Morgan Park responded immediately with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Warren to Marcel Williams to take an 8-6 lead. But that was the last time the Mustangs would score.
“The problem is Sinque and I are too close,” Morgan Park coach Chris James said. “He knew what I wanted to do. He had a great game plan for who we are on offense. But we left plays on the field. They are a tough, up and coming CPS team just like us.”
What a run by Davonte Johnson. Closing in on 100 yards in the first half. pic.twitter.com/QjSjILYZpg
— Michael O’Brien (@michaelsobrien) October 2, 2021
Kenwood (6-0, 3-0 Illini Red Bird) limited Tysean Griffin, the Mustangs’ sophomore speedster, to just one breakout play, a 49-yard run in the third quarter. Griffin had eight carries for 58 yards.
“We just tried to keep the ball away from him,” Turner said. “We didn’t kick the ball to him and tried to control the clock offensively.”
Morgan Park quarterback Aaron Warren was 3-for-10 passing for 46 yards with one touchdown. His arm strength and athleticism are apparent, but he couldn’t find the one big play to turn the tide.
“He just has to stay consistent with the coaching,” James said. “He will. He’ll be fine. He’s an athlete playing quarterback.”
Johnson wasn’t the only unknown to have a breakout game for Kenwood. Sophomore defensive end Marquise Lightfoot played a major role in shutting down Morgan Park’s offense.
“He’s very athletic, very disciplined and very coachable,” Turner said. “I love his relentlessness to the ball. He has an unlimited motor. The kid is going to be a top player in the state by the time he’s finished.”
Kenwood quarterback Lou Henson connected with Kahlil Tate on a 51-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to provide the final margin.
The Broncos face Curie next week and finish the regular season against Simeon. Turner expects the Broncos to be a factor in the Class 6A state playoffs.
” I know there are juggernaut teams in Class 6A, some real good teams,” Turner said. “But we will be very competitive in the state playoffs.
Morgan Park (3-2, 2-0) has dropped two in a row after losing to Taft last week. Next up is arch rival Simeon.
“You put Simeon up on the board and everything else is wiped away,” James said.