Texas-bound Kirk Johnson has one of his top games with 220 yards rushing and four TDs as Warriors hope their season has been rejuvenated by handing the state-ranked Bells their first loss of the season.
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The best time to arrive at a football game being held at the hilltop campus of San Jose’s Valley Christian is at sunset. It’s when you can still make out the skyline of downtown San Jose to the north and can track planes as they head into Mineta International Airport.
Heading into Saturday night’s game against Bellarmine of San Jose, Valley Christian’s players might have felt their season was heading into the sunset as well. The Warriors already had two losses on their log, including one from last week to Serra of San Mateo plus an earlier one to unbeaten Milpitas.
Instead of a darkening sky, however, Valley Christian’s season can now be more like a new dawn. The Warriors stopped turning the ball over, displayed just how hard they can be to defend when both Johnson brothers (Kirk and Collin) are making plays and clobbered the Bells 42-17.
Senior Kirk Johnson, who has committed to Texas, ripped off 220 yards on 22 carries and scored three touchdowns. Collin Johnson, a junior but also committed to the Longhorns, caught five passes for 86 yards and one TD. One of his other catches in which two defenders were on either side of him also set up a score.
“If you look at the tapes of our games we lost, we moved the ball but it was the four fumbles against Milpitas,” Johnson said. “You can’t play a good opponent and do that. We also put it on the ground twice against Serra. The key tonight was being physical.”
It also was simple execution. Valley Christian scored on six of its seven offensive possessions during the night. The only time the Warriors didn’t score was the final series when head coach Mike Machado had the second unit playing.
“On Tuesday (of last week), we talked about being physical and we looked physical out there tonight,” Machado said. “Hopefully, we’re re-committing ourselves for the rest of the season.”
Machado’s son, Michael, completed all six of his passes and in addition to a 15-yard TD pass to Collin Johnson also found junior tight end Cameron Woodard for a seven-yard score.
Bellarmine, which entered the game at No. 22 from last week’s State 25, fell to 4-1. The Bells were in the game at 14-7 in the second quarter after a six-yard TD run by Anthony Guttadauro, but the Warriors drove back down the field for a 13-yard TD run by Marc Quimby.
Kirk Johnson then put Valley Christian firmly in control with just 41 seconds left on a 56-yard touchdown, showing the power, speed to the edge and all of his abilities that make him clearly one of the top running backs in the state.
Bellarmine’s only other touchdown came on a 72-yard burst by Devon Buenrostro but by that point the Warriors already were in front 42-10.
The margin of defeat should drop Bellarmine a bunch of spots in the next rankings cycle. Valley Christian’s impressive outing could vault it all the way to No. 3 in the CIF Central Coast Section — behind only the two squads the Warriors have lost to — but Los Gatos also is in the mix and plays Milpitas at the end of the month.