Corona’s Johnson has game to remember - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Corona’s Johnson has game to remember

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Posted: Saturday, September 4, 2004 8:08 am | Updated: 5:57 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

September 4, 2004

If No. 6 Dobson forgot who Blaise Johnson was, the Corona del Sol senior reminded the Mustangs Friday night — in a hurry.

Johnson returned the opening kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown, added one from scrimmage later and fullback Daniel McClendon chipped in 118 yards rushing and two touchdowns as the seventhranked Aztecs routed the Mustangs, 41-19, in a battle of 2003 playoff teams at Mustang Stadium.

‘‘Our kids did a great job and it started with special teams,’’ Corona del Sol coach Gary Venturo said. ‘‘Some people place offense or defense ahead of special teams, but I see them as 1-1-1, all equal. We try to sell our kids on that.’’

Dobson won the coin toss to begin the game and opted to defer its option to the second half. Johnson obliged by taking the kick at his 13 and followed a wedge on the right side until he broke free near midfield and outran defenders to the end zone. Johnson amassed 123 yards of kickoff returns in the first half. Last year Johnson was the Aztecs’ starter at quarterback and passed for three touchdowns against the Mustangs. Corona del Sol had no kickoff or punt return net fewer than 10 yards. The Aztecs also did not have to punt the entire game.

McClendon, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior, scored the first of his two TDs on 67-yard run in the first period. It came a minute after Dobson answered the Aztecs’ first score and swayed momentum back Corona’s way — essentially for good.

‘‘(McClendon) is a halfback at fullback,’’ Venturo said. ‘‘We weren’t able to use him as much as we’d like the last couple years because of injuries. He had an Achilles operation as a freshman, and it’s taken him awhile to get back. We have to use him as much as we can as a runner, not just a blocker.’’

McClendon has very good speed and showed his ability as a blocker and runner with equal success. Whatever the play called for, he was glad to contribute.

‘‘It’s great to be back,’’ McClendon said. ‘‘Our whole line did a great job.’’

Dobson appeared as if it might make a run at Corona to begin the second half. The Mustangs trailed 28-12 to begin the third period and marched from its 20 to the Corona 36. The drive stalled and the Aztecs answered with Johnson and McClendon keying a 67-yard, six-play scoring drive — all on the ground — as Johnson capped the drive from 5 yards out.

Marcus Richmond led Dobson with 102 yards on 14 carries and scored twice.

Quarterback Brenan Poe passed for 165 yards.

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]