Makai Johnson accounts for three touchdowns as Newberry holds on to beat Union County 28-21

The Sonic Drive-In Player-of-the-Game for Friday, September 18, is Makai Johnson of Newberry High School.

Johnson accounted for three TDs as the Panthers built an early 15-0 lead and held on for a 28-21 win against visiting Union County (Lake Butler).

The senior quarterback scored on a fourth-and-goal run from a yard out to give Newberry a 6-0 lead with 7:00 to play in the opening quarter.

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Then, after a three-and-out by Union County, Johnson completed two passes to senior Justen Crews that covered 42 yards, including a 12-yard scoring pass on third-and-goal to give the Panthers a 13-0 lead with just 20 seconds left in the opening quarter.

“He stayed in the pocket and made some big throws,” said Newberry coach Ed Johnson. “He’s getting better. Hopefully this can be a spring board for the rest of the season.”

Johnson, who was coming off an ankle injury, found Crews again late on a 7-yard scoring pass to make it 28-15 with just 1:14 to play.

Union County, which rallied from a 15-0 halftime deficit, dropped to 1-1.

“I thought Newberry played well,” said Union County coach Andrew Thomas, whose Tigers will host Interlachen next Friday. “They made plays we hadn’t seen on film.”

Newberry (2-1) will host Pierson Taylor on Friday, Sept. 18.

Santa Fe 26, Fort White 14

On Friday night, the Santa Fe football team picked up its first win of the season with a 26-14 win against rival Fort White. 

Junior quarterback Jordan Rogers overcame a slow start with two first half interceptions and finished 5-for-5 in the second half. Rogers scored on a 2-yard run on the Raiders’ first possession of the third quarter to give Santa Fe a 20-7 lead in what proved to be the game-winning score. 

Santa Fe will host P.K. Yonge on Friday. The Blue Wave lost to Tallahassee Florida High, 57-0. 

Taylor County 21, Chiefland 14

The Chiefland football team lost its season opener on Friday night, falling at Taylor County in Perry, 21-14.  Sophomore Paul Davis went over the century mark, carrying the ball 15 times for 102 yards for an average of 6.8 yards per carry.  As a team, the Indians rushed for 160 against the Bulldogs.  Chiefland sophomore quarterback Craig Nettles completed three of six passes for just 39 yards.  

 Senior Elijah Flanders finished with 11 tackles, including two tackles for a loss.  Davis also had 11 stops, and a tackle for a loss, while junior Iziah Brown had 10 tackles.  Senior Jacob Kline also added two tackles for a loss, and sophomore Donovan Minecello had an interception.  It will be a quick turnaround for the Indians, who travel to Cross City to take on Dixie County this Thursday night in the annual Battle of the Suwannee. 

Dixie County 40, Williston 18

 Dixie County defeated Williston, 40-18. The Bears evened their record at 1-1 after losing a tough one the previous week at Union County 18-14 in which they lost a 14-0 lead against the Tigers.  Dixie County ensured there would be no comeback this week as they built a 27-6 halftime lead.

Cambridge Christian 24, Trenton 6

Trenton lost a tough one at home to Cambridge Christian of Tampa.  The visiting Class 2A Lancers built a 17-0 lead at the half, threw for over 300 yards, and cruised to a 24-6 win.

Taylor 30, Bell 12

Bell (0-2) dropped its second contest of the year, falling at Taylor (Pierson), 30-12.  Senior quarterback Caden Hastings only completed two of five passes but he carried the ball 16 times for 114 yards in the loss.  Senior Jordan Hernandez led the Bulldogs defense with 15 tackles, including 10 solo tackles.

Bishop McLaughlin 37, Bronson 8

And Bronson (2-1) lost its first game of the season.  The Eagles lost 37-8 at home to Bishop McLaughlin Catholic of Spring Hill.


In other high school football action from Friday, Gainesville was shut out at home by Sanford Seminole, 28-0, to drop to 1-1, and St. Francis Catholic was shutout at home by Quincy Munroe, 35-0.

Catch the Eastside vs. Buchholz Game of the Week on I am Country 106.9 FM this Friday night starting at 7pm.

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Mike Ridaught is the founder and publisher of, the foremost website for high school sports in northeast Florida.

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