DECATUR -- Izaiah Johnson has been on the wrong side of Eisenhower for his entire high school career.
Finally, with a flurry of stutter steps, spin moves and a display of his blazing 4.4 40-yard dash speed, the MacArthur senior had the Generals back on top in the annual Bragging Rights Game.
MacArthur rushed for 326 team yards in Saturday's 53-0 win at Eisenhower in a Central State 8 Conference game.
The win was a long time coming for Johnson and the senior class.
"It feels pretty good," Johnson said. "I was injured my sophomore year, but to come out as a senior and give it my all and get the blow out -- it feels pretty good. I'm thankful for it."
Johnson ran for a game-high 166 yards and three touchdowns (10, 30 and 55 yards). His final touchdown run may have been his most impressive.
With MacArthur leading 45-0 in the third quarter, Johnson broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage, spun off another tackle and burst down the field to start the running clock and officially kick off the victory celebration.
Not much went wrong for the senior.
"The blocking scheme, you know, I was fortunate enough to get the blocks and I saw the holes," Johnson said. "Once I saw the holes I just got outside."
Johnson got more than enough help from a suddenly resurgent MacArthur offense. Quarterback Amir Brummett threw for touchdown strikes of 20 and 34 yards, Armon Brummett returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown and Jacoby Cunningham closed out the scoring with a 52-yard bomb to Ray Neal, Jr. for a TD.
"If we're playing smart, you really can't stop us," Johnson said. "As long as we give it our all and come out to play every single night and play as hard as we can, you can't really stop us."
Neal, Jr. caught all three completed passes for the Generals and took all three for touchdowns. The 52-yard catch from Cunningham came late in the fourth where Neal, Jr. slowed down, turned around and plucked the ball off of his shoestrings before darting to the end zone.
Alas, the Generals proved they're more than the Division-I bound Brummett twins.
"It felt great," Amir said. "Many people think it's just me and (Armon) that make this team. As you see, it's a lot of weapons we can use. A lot. They're just finally coming out of the shadows."
For as electric as the offense was, the MacArthur defense gave Eisenhower fits.
The defensive front made a homestead in the face of Eisenhower quarterback Matt Skeffington, forcing him to scramble around the pocket or take off running.
"They brought pressure just about every time," Eisenhower coach Drew Wagers said. "We've got to handle that up front. That's about all we can do. We've got to understand what our blocking assignments are and where they're coming from and get it taken care of."
Skeffington connected on 8-of-18 passes for 82 yards and threw three interceptions. Eisenhower's AJ Lawson was the recipient of the first two picks and Amir Brummett picked the third one out of the clear Decatur night.
Eisenhower managed just 42 rushing yards with 24 coming from Skeffington. Linebackers Darionne Brown and Ricky McKeller led the charge for the Generals.
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"I saw guys who are wanting to get after the quarterback and guys who are wanting to stuff the run," MacArthur coach Derek Spates said of his defense. "That's what we've been preaching to them all year long is that we have to come out and be more stout up front. We gave up a lot of points last year. We put it on those guys to come out and show that we can play better defense than we have in the last couple years."
It took a bit for the Generals' offense to move at full strength. MacArthur scored early in the first quarter and not again until midway through the second quarter.
Eisenhower had chances to even the score, but an interception and blocked punt on back-to-back possessions put the Panthers' defense in a bind.
But, the defense came through and held the Generals in check for a little longer.
Finally, a chance to break through on offense came early in the second quarter. Eisenhower sustained an 11-play, 56-yard drive that nearly resulted in a touchdown, but a drop in the end zone on 4th-and-6 ended the threat.
"It's not good, obviously," Wagers said of the loss. "This is not how the game should have went. If we execute early on, it was a 7-0 ball game and we drop one in the end zone. If we execute a little better or if it's on, you know, we're down here on the 23-yard line and we came all the way back. It's all about execution and we just didn't do it tonight. It didn't happen."
The game was marred with physicality, often times resulting in a penalty on one of the teams for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Chalk it up to the city rivalry, but each side had more than enough chirping.
Perhaps no one was the recipient of big hits as often as Skeffington, but the senior quarterback stood tall and didn't shy away from the physical MacArthur defense.
"He's a tough kid and that's why he's back there and doing the things he's doing," Wagers said. "Like I said, he's just tough and he's going to battle. He's going to give it everything he's got. He's a standup kid and he's going to do whatever he can to help this team win."
No QB controversy
Though Cunningham started the game in place of Amir Brummett -- who started the first offensive series in the second quarter and split time late in the game -- both Amir and Spates insist there's no controversy.
Spates just wanted to see what he had in his junior QB who will likely take over as a starter next season.
"We wanted to see what Jacoby Cunningham could do," Spates said. "We knew Amir was going to get out there, he may have even got out there the second series on defense. He's had some nagging injuries and stuff like that. We told him once he gets to full speed and we're good to go."
The swap-start was no bother to Amir.
"It was just, we ain't really got a starting quarterback, you know, we're just going to flip in and out and keep the defense on their heals," Amir said.