NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Amesbury High School

September 27, 2008

Johnston has his way: Amesbury off to perfect September

Amesbury off to first perfect September under Connors

EAST BOSTON — The Amesbury football team completed a perfect September for the first time in coach Thom Connors' seven-year career last evening.

With a 44-14 victory over East Boston, the Indians (3-0) provided an exclamation point to an opening month that served as a statement to Cape Ann League Small foes. The Indians, winners of their first CAL Small title in school history last fall, have looked every bit the part of the favorite to repeat.

Senior tailback Kevin Johnston led the way last evening with his third consecutive 100-plus yard effort. Last night was the best of his three games as he had 11 carries for 171 yards and two rushing touchdowns. In addition to touchdown runs of 52 and 58 yards, Johnston added two more 50-plus yard scores on special teams. He returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown, and returned a kick 66 yards for a score.

"Those 50-yard plays aren't by design," Amesbury coach Thom Connors said. "He's a great back. He has good speed, unbelievable balance, and he's stronger than a lot of people give him credit for because of his size (5-10, 195 pounds). You just have to give him the ball, that's all."

Johnston, a returning Daily News All-Star, is a 100-meter Cape Ann League champion in outdoor track. He broke his first touchdown run with his team leading 7-6 midway through the second quarter. On the first play from scrimmage after an East Boston punt, Johnston cut through a hole on the left side of the offensive line and went untouched 52 yards.

Amesbury forced another punt just before halftime after Matt Kilmartin and Kyle Mroz had back-to-back sacks. With his team leading 13-6 and the clock running under 2:00 in the first half, Johnston was looking to give his team solid field position on the punt return. He took the ball off one bounce at his own 38 and hit full stride within his first three steps. By the 50-yard line, he had only the end zone in front of him.

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