The 1-2 punch that the Falcons have at running back has led them to a couple of big playoff wins. Seniors Mario Simmons and Issac Johnson have been an important part of the Foster offensive attack as opposing defense key more on receivers Cody Jackson.
Both Simmons and Johnson are strong runners who are hard to tackle. Simmons is a more finesse rusher, while Johnson is more physical. “We got two different running styles that are hard to stop,” Johnson said.
While Simmons got a few yards early in the game against Georgetown last week, Johnson made an impact, catching a 37-yard touchdown to put Foster on the board, and then rushing for 73 yards and two more scores.
Simmons also had a good day, rushing for 48 yards on nine carries. Even junior reserve running back Xavier Smallwood had a big day, rushing for 52 yards and a touchdown.
The diverse rushing attack racked up 170 yards last week against the Eagles. “It’s like what we say, first downs and touchdowns, that’s what we do,” Simmons said.
In their previous meeting with Shadow Creek, it was Johnson with the big performance, rushing for 94 yards. But it wasn’t enough as the Sharks jumped out to a 21-10 lead en route to a 24-17 win. Foster ran for only 109 yards as a team against the Sharks back on Oct. 24.
For the Falcons to get the win on Friday, both Simmons and Johnson said that the play of the offense – as well as defense and special teams – must be for the entire game.
“(Shadow Creek) has made more fourth-quarter plays than we have,” Simmons said. “We just have to start playing in the fourth quarter just as hard as in the first three. Once we have that down, we got them beat. ”
Johnson hopes that the Falcons can be clean and concise with their performance on Friday. “We’ve got to execute plays. We can’t beat ourselves,” he said.
Meanwhile, the team did its fifth-annual pre-Thanksgiving luncheon on Wednesday, as players, coaches and trainers all enjoyed a post-practice meal provided by the parents of the team.
“It’s about Shadow Creek, but it’s also about us and having our luncheon and showing that it’s more than a game,” McDowell said. “It’s really about family and the relationships that you have, and hopefully they will remember this for a long time.”