MONCKS CORNER - The Berkeley Stags got a little more fight than they bargained for in Class AA's Johnsonville Flashes, hanging on to win a shootout, 42-27, in their high school football season opener Friday night.
Leon Simmons and D.J. Whitherspoon each scored a pair of touchdowns, and Joseph Dress ran for one and threw for one as the Stags jumped out to a 1-0 mark for the first time under coach Jeff Cruce.
Johnsonville and its triple option offense proved much more than just a flash in the pan. Two years removed from a state championship game appearance in Class A in 2012, the Flashes hit the ground running in the first quarter, scoring a pair of touchdowns to go up 13-0.
Robert Ripley scored the first of three touchdowns for the Flashes on the game's first possession, finding pay dirt from six yards out to put Johnsonville up 6-0.
After the Stags turned the ball over on downs, Flashes quarterback Jacob Avant capped a six-play, 43-yard drive with a four-yard run to put Johnsonville up by a 13-0 score.
The Stags answered with three touchdowns in the second quarter to take the lead for good.
Simmons put Berkeley on the board with a four-yard run to cut the lead to 13-7, capping a 99-yard, seven-play drive.
After the Stags forced a Flashes punt on defense, Whitherspoon hauled in the kick on his own 45-yard line and scampered untouched 55 yards to put the Stags on top 14-13.
After a second straight stop by the Berkeley defense, Dress scored on a 26-yard keeper to put the Stags up 21-13 going into the locker room.
In the second half the two teams traded touchdown punches until the Stags finally put the game away with fourth-quarter touchdowns by Simmons and Whitherspoon, and a 49-run by Jamal Bowman.
Ripley took care of the Johnsonville scoring with a pair of touchdown runs.
Berkeley hosts Stratford on Aug. 29, while Johnsonville travels to Carver's Bay.
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