Johnson, Hopper Find 'Groove' To Lead Maiden

Quarterback Matt Johnson and receiver Hasan Hopper found each other early and often Friday night at Maiden. Hopper caught six of Johnson’s first 10 complete passes for 84 yards and a touchdown.

The two connected for a 36-yard touchdown pass one play after Maiden’s Dakata Painter stripped Bandys’ quarterback on a sack in the second quarter.

“We were hoping to take the air out of their sails,” said Maiden coach Brian Brown. “They had some life, and it was hard for them to overcome that.”

The Blue Devils led the Trojans 21-7 after the touchdown pass, and rode that momentum to a 35-20 rivalry win.

The loss was Bandys’ sixth straight.

Johnson started the game hot for Maiden. He completed his first 10 passes for 131 yards and the touchdown.

“I was in a groove when I came out of the tunnel,” Johnson said. “This is a big game. It’s Maiden-Bandys. I was really out for revenge.”

Johnson threw multiple interceptions last year at Bandys in a 41-6 loss to the Trojans.

He had only two incompletions Friday night at Maiden and did not throw an interception in the Blue Devils’ 15-point win. The junior quarterback ended the game as the Blue Devils’ leading passer and rusher. Johnson went 12 of 14 for 166 yards passing with one touchdown, and he had 13 carries for 151 yards and three touchdowns.
Hopper caught seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.

“We’ve grown up together with him being my wide receiver,” Johnson said. “We have chemistry that me and the other receivers don’t have.”

Bandys ran trick plays throughout the game Friday and caught Maiden off guard. The Trojans tied the game at 7 on a double-reverse flea-flicker that ended with a 38-yard touchdown pass from quarterback David Barrow to receiver Jesse Goodwin, who had nobody within 15 yards of him. The Trojans were successful on 4 of 6 fourth-down conversion attempts, but they were successful on only 1 of 9 third downs.

“If you have one bad play, that will about take you out of a first-down chance,” Bandys coach Randy Lowman said. “Maiden did a good job on both sides of the ball tonight.”
Maiden scored on three of its first four possessions to take a 21-7 lead. Running back Nate Johnson scored on a 7-yard run, and Bandys’ trick play tied the game at 7. Maiden scored on its back-to-back possessions with a 6-yard run by Matt Johnson and the 36-yard pass to Hopper.

The Blue Devils took a 28-point lead in the second half on touchdown runs by Matt Johnson from 25 and 65 yards out, respectively. The Trojans scored twice in the fourth quarter on 9- and 3-yard runs by fullback Dylan King.

King finished the game with 83 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 15 attempts. Dominique Young led Bandys had a team-high 25 carries and 97 yards.
Bandys found a way late in the game to move the chains. The Trojans’ final three drives, including their two scoring drives, had at least 11 plays.

Bandys played with a lot of emotion Friday in honor of assistant coach Chris “Chopper” Fulbright. Fulbright recently underwent surgery to remove part of a cancerous kidney, and the two rival schools held joint fundraisers for the recovering coach. More than $10,000 was raised from both schools.

“I felt like if we withstood their emotion early, we would be all right,” Brown said.