Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Freshman Phenom Finest; First Coast QB Throws 5 TDs in Comeback Win over Yulee

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Freshman Phenom Finest; First Coast QB Throws 5 TDs in Comeback Win over Yulee

Article excerpt

Byline: Hays Carlyon

There were standouts committed to Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Miami and West Virginia on the field.

But, a ninth-grader outshined them all.

First Coast freshman quarterback DeAndre Johnson threw five touchdown passes, including four in the second half, to lead the Buccaneers to a 36-16 victory Friday night over visiting Yulee in a non-district contest. The game was televised live throughout the region by Comcast Sports Southeast.

The 6-foot, 165-pound Johnson completed 12 of 19 passes for 301 yards and did not commit a turnover.

"If you give him time, for a freshman, DeAndre is pretty special," First Coast coach Marty Lee said.

Johnson was brilliant in the second half. He completed 9 of 12 passes for 225 yards to lead First Coast (6-0) back from a 13-9 halftime deficit.

"He's phenomenal," Yulee coach Bobby Ramsay said. "In the first half, we caught him off guard pretty well. In the second half, we let him get into a rhythm. Our front wasn't getting enough pressure and heat on him. You can tell he's going to be doing things like this for the next few years."

Yulee (3-3) countered with its dynamic backfield mix of junior Derrick Henry and senior Kelvin Rainey. Henry, a Georgia commitment, ran the offense out of the Wildcat for most of the night. He gained 103 yards on 31 carries and scored once. Running back Kelvin Rainey, who has pledged to South Carolina, also went over the 100-yard mark with 105 yards on eight carries.

"They have a great team and No. 2 [Henry] and No. 5 [Rainey] are amazing players," Lee said.

The First Coast defense played a nearly flawless second half, holding Henry and Rainey to just 40 yards combined. Linebackers Reggie Northrup (a Miami commitment) and Joseph Jackson (West Virginia) were two of the reasons why.

"We moved the pile pretty well in the first half," Ramsay said. "Then, we kind of wore out a little bit."

Johnson connected with Justin Osborn for a 10-yard touchdown pass that proved to be the game-winning points. The score gave the Buccaneers a 23-16 lead with 2:47 to play in the third quarter. Johnson opened the third quarter by throwing a deep ball to Brandon Brooks that went for a 73-yard score. …

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