He gained 270 yards in Salem's 42-17 win over the Potters.
By JOHN BUTERA
EAST LIVERPOOL -- J.J. Johnson rushed for 270 yards on 37 carries and scored three touchdowns,all in the second half, as Salem High turned back East Liverpool 42-17 Friday at Potter Stadium.
Quarterback Tom Jesko threw touchdown passes to Jarin Heath for 3 yards and to Sean McKee for 20 to give Salem a 14-10 lead at the intermission.
The rivalry between the two largest schools in Columbiana County marked the head coaching debut of East Liverpool's Pat McNicol, a former Potter standout.
East Liverpool took its final lead two plays into the third quarter as John Simballa's fumble recovery in the end zone gave the Potters a 17-14 advantage.
Salem answered quickly as Johnson came up with scoring runs of 6 and 30 yards in the space of just 4 minutes, 15 seconds. He also scored on a 30-yard run.
"They [East Liverpool] wanted to come and play and we played with them," said Johnson. "We have a good running and passing game.
"This was a very important win for us, becuase we're looking to go undefeated this year."
"East Liverpool gave us all we wanted tonight," said Salem coach Doug Phillips. "I won't lie to you, there were some anxious moments.
"I think the key was that our defensive guys were fresh in the third and fourth quarters. That's because seven of them only go one way," said Phillips.
"We knew we had a running game, but you have to give those guys up front and [assistant] coach Dan Gull credit. We believe we can run the football."
With Salem leading 7-3 after the first quarter, East Liverpool started a drive from its own 20-yard line and 4:38 later they had used up 10 plays, marching to the Quakers 36.
With a second and goal at the 13. East Liverpool quarterback Joe Wines threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tony Metsch who made a leaping grab in the left corner of the end zone that put the Potters ahead 10-7.
The 80-yard drive included three passes and 11 rushes as the Potters consumed 6:29 off the clock. All three passes were caught by Metsch, for 10 and 16 yards and the TD.
It took Salem little time to answer as it quickly marched 89 yards. In contrast to the Potters' drive, the Quakers needed just 2:25 to regain the lead.
Jesko's 20-yard TD strike to Sean McKee gave the Quakers a 14-10 halftime margin.
Salem put the game away in the fourth quarter when Steve Jackavitch tallied from 2 yards out to make it 35-27.
The score was set up by Johnson, who on the previous run from scrimmage, rambled 42 yards.