DONNELLSON — Chase Johnson had to glance at the scoreboard again.
Central Lee’s 55-0 win over Cardinal was the second consecutive win for the Hawks to start the season, a crisp showing that led to some impressive numbers.
“It’s motivation for us,” said Johnson, a junior running back who rushed for 103 yards, including 63 on a third-quarter touchdown run. “We’ve never had a scoreboard look like that in the last couple of years in our favor. So, I think it’s motivation to do it again.”
The Hawks controlled this game with a 21-point first quarter and a 34-0 halftime lead. They held Cardinal (0-2) to just 50 yards of offense while putting up 365 yards, all but 33 on the ground.
“It feels good. Really good,” said quarterback Cory Jones, who rushed for 122 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. “Our offense did what it was supposed to, our defense did what it was supposed to.”
“I think the big thing was, and I said this last week, was we just needed to focus on ourselves,” Central Lee coach Doug Dodds said. “We wanted to make sure we were getting better.
“Ultimately, and Chase and Cory would be the first to admit it, it’s a true team effort. Everybody is doing their job, whether it’s taking a fake or blocking downfield. And that’s ultimately where our true success is coming from. It’s all 11.”
Central Lee won three games last season after going winless in 2020 and 2021. But this win, combined with last Friday’s 35-8 win at Van Buren County, has the Hawks sensing some momentum.
“Getting these two wins out of the gate, it’s a really exciting feeling for us,” Johnson said. “We stepped it up a lot (from last week). A whole lot of improvement — we worked on a lot of different things from last week that we nitpicked at. I think that’s what helped us make that scoreboard.”
“It feels good. We go from not winning, to starting 2-0,” Jones said. “That’s a good feeling.”
Johnson opened the scoring with a 9-yard touchdown run, then after an interception by Landon Lowenberg, Grant Myhre scored on a 19-yard run for a 14-0 lead. Keagan Damico’s 12-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter pushed the lead to 21-0.
Kayden Calfee’s 1-yard touchdown dive in the second quarter gave Central Lee a 27-0 lead. Then, right before halftime, Calfee threw what looked to be a touchdown pass to Jones, but the ball was knocked loose as Jones was going into the end zone. Lowenberg, though, fell on the loose ball for the touchdown.
The Hawks kept the momentum into the second half.
Johnson’s touchdown started the final run of points.
“I hit the hole that was designed for me to hit,” he said. “Then a couple of guys bounced off me. I saw open grass, and I ran.”
Talking about the space he had to run made Johnson smile.
“It’s a fever dream, really,” Johnson said. “It’s amazing.”
Jones’ run nearly happened a couple of plays earlier.
“We had just run the play, and the hole was there, but I handed the ball off,” Jones said. “The tight end told me to just pull the ball back the next time, so I did. I saw the hole open up, and then I got to the outside.”
Calfee closed the scoring with a 10-yard touchdown run with 1:35 left in the third quarter.
The Hawks play at Durant next Friday.
“We’re doing good things right now,” Dodds said. “We need to keep it going.”