SYCAMORE - Gunnar Johnson came into the weekend's action as the Midland Athletic League's top rusher and he's in excellent position to maintain that status the rest of the year.
But for a little more than 46 minutes at Warrior Field Friday night, the Mohawk junior rated third best on his team and fourth overall during the Warriors' battle with Lakota.
That fact provides the general outlook for what would become a 57-26 runaway Warrior win. The numbers behind that were incredible.
Johnson finished as the leading rusher with 212 yards on 27 carries. He took that lofty position when he raced 72 yards for the game's final touchdown with 1:49 to play. It was his third score of the game and 14th of the season.
If others were relegated to statistical supporting roles, there were highlights galore in their production.
For instance, senior Eric Maskey added three touchdowns to push his league-leading total to 19 for the year. He did so while rushing for 165 yards on 11 carries, including a record 99-yarder with 8:49 to play.
Then, there was senior Logan Stillberger, who may have had the school record for longest touchdown run for roughly a quarter. Stillberger ripped off a 96-yard scoring run with 9:32 left in the third period.
That was one of two scores for Stillberger, who totaled 140 yards on just three carries.
"People are going to do things to try to take (Johnson) away and that just opens up other things," Mohawk coach Erik Baker said after his club improved to 4-4 overall and retained a share of the MAL lead at 4-1.
"Hopefully, what we do with our version of the 'I', we give you enough counters that you can't isolate," he said. "If you take him away you give us two others guys, maybe three.
"I'm glad that they all broke through, I'm glad that we're back to even on the record and we're going into the last two weeks of the season with our destiny in our hands."
It was a breakout night on several fronts as the two teams combined for 1,051 yards in total offense, including 516 Warrior yards on the ground. The Raiders were in the hunt for a while, thanks to Colin Timmons, who passed for 277 yards and three touchdowns, and Albert Guerra, who rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
The two teams traded scores early before the Warriors managed a 20-12 lead at the half.
Stillberger started things with a 33-yard TD sprint with 10:36 still showing in the first period.
The Raiders, who drove 46 yards before stalling on the Mohawk 10, got a second chance when the Warriors' Grant Gucker was stopped short on a fake punt. Guerra ran 3 yards to tie the game at 6-6 with 46 seconds left in the quarter.
Kevin Lonsway's 40-yard kickoff return put Mohawk back in position. Johnson's 1-yard smash and successful run for the extras made it 14-6.
Less than two minutes later, it was 14-12 after Timmons hit 6-foot-5 Jack Raymond over the middle for a 70-yard touchdown pass. But Johnson's second TD, a 14-yard run, gave Mohawk the edge at the break.
"We didn't talk so much scheme stuff as just finishing what we do," Baker said. "We were like a block away the whole first half from getting some people turned loose; (we said) let's get that block and finish with our feet. And they responded."
Timmons' 31-yard punt pinned the Warriors on their 7 and a penalty moved the ball back to the 4. But Stillberger hit for the second time on a counter and came up with his 96-yard score.
If that wasn't the backbreaker, two more third-period scores did the trick.
Maskey's 11-yard burst finished a 52-yard scoring drive and then Austin Shock recovered a Raider muff on the kickoff to set up another score. It came when Gucker tossed a 5-yard pass to Mitch Parker and the lead was suddenly 38-12.
Timmons hit Raymond (nine catches, 164 yards) for a 17-yard score and Guerra recovered an onside kick. But the Raiders were stopped on fourth down at the Warrior 1.
Time for Maskey's record-breaker.
"They're going to bring everybody to try and get a safety," Baker said. "If you just get 12 inches, it would just be Eric and oxygen until he gets to the other end."
Timmons tossed a 25-yard TD to freshman Dakota Bowling and Maskey powered in from the 3 to close the scoring.
The Warriors, whose challenging start to the season resulted in four straight losses, now share the top spot in the league with Carey. A third leader will come from tonight's Calvert-St. Joseph Central Catholic showdown in Fremont.
Mohawk has games at Calvert and St. Joseph remaining.
"I have to give credit to our seniors for not panicking and accepting coaching," Baker said. "We've started to build some confidence."
So much so that seemingly everyone in a Warrior uniform is on the run.