ROXANA — The Roxana Shells football team had a happy homecoming on Friday night.
The Shells earned their first win of the season with a 48-7 South Central Conference rout of the Litchfield Purple Panthers at Charles Raich Field. The Shells improved to 1-5; all of their games are in conference play.
“It’s hard not getting a win so far,” Shells coach Pat Keith said. “For the kids, this is a big win. Hopefully, we’ll carry this forward and play better.”
Roxana scored on its first possession of the game. The Shells put together an eight play, 58-yard drive that was capped off by a nine-yard TD run by running back Wyatt Kirkpatrick at the 6:49 mark. The TD gave the Shells a 6-0 advantage and a two-point conversion made the score 8-0.
Kirkpatrick scored again at the 1:08 mark. His touchdown was followed by a two-point conversion by Johnson that gave Roxana a 16-0 lead.
“It all comes down to the team,” Johnson said. “We’ve been working hard in practice all week. The offensive line has been blocking hard up front. All of our back have been working hard in practice.”
Keith also credited the offensive line for the victory.
“Jordan Hawkins, our fullback, is out for the year now so Wyatt (Kirkpatrick) came in and did a great job,” he said. “And Joey (Johnson), too. As for the offensive line, this is the first night where we played well. We have a long way to go, but we’re happy with a win tonight.”
The Purple Panthers showed some life early in the second quarter, when quarterback Sam Painter connected on a five-yard pass into the end zone with running back Chase Lauderdale at the 8:49 mark. Brian Ringering’s PAT cut the Shells’ lead to 16-7.
Roxana scored on the next possession. Johnson scored the first of his four touchdowns — a 24-yard run — at the 3:44 mark to give Roxana a 22-7 lead.
Johnson, who rushed for 229-yards in the contest, scored his second touchdown with 35 seconds left in the second quarter on a three-yard run to extend Roxana’s lead to 30-7.
The Shells scored on every offensive possession of the first half.
The Purple Panthers (0-6, 0-6 SSC) had five offensive possessions in the first half and moved the ball into Shells territory on four of the five. Litchfield had the ball on Roxana’s one-yard line at the 1:48 mark in the second quarter on a fourth-and-one play and Painter had a chance to score a TD, but he was stopped at the 1-yard line.
After taking over at the 1-yard line, Roxana avoided a safety after Kirkpatrick had a 18-yard run.
Painter threw the ball 15 times for 187 yards for Litchfield.
“Consistency, that’s one thing we’re working on,” Litchfield coach Seth Hill said. “You have to consistently do it on every play. It’s building progress, that’s what we’re doing.”
The Shells continued to rack up points in the second half. Johnson scored a touchdown at the 8:52 mark in the third quarter and another at the 9:31 mark in the fourth quarter. Running back Michael Cherry scored a touchdown at the 5:07 mark in the fourth quarter on a 76-yard run.
Roxana will take on Gillespie at 7 p.m. on Oct. 7 in a road contest.