Marcellus Johnson and Montego Muckelvaney made a name for themselves last season, and it carried over into the spring.
The quarterback-wide receiver duo electrified on the football field Friday night at Leo Buckley Stadium in Killeen’s annual spring game.
Johnson completed 13 of 22 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 16 times for 46 yards and a score, and Muckelvaney caught seven passes for 133 yards to go along with three touchdowns to lead the Maroon team to a 31-14 victory over the White team.
Both players will be seniors this fall, and the momentum the two built last season — along with their work in the offseason and spring practices — parlayed into a performance Kangaroos head coach Neil Searcy was not surprised to see Friday.
“That combination, we’re hoping, is going to be big all year long,” Searcy said. “Those guys have worked their tails off this spring, and they’ve been awesome. We’re looking for a big football season from those two.
“Montego was out making catches and just doing what he does — making big blocks, too. He catches the ball, he blocks and he does everything you want out of a wide receiver, and he’s a leader of the football team.
“With Marcellus, it’s the same thing. He’s the quarterback, he’s getting the ball out of his hands and when he pulls it down and runs it, he’s like a big running back. He’s doing a good job of running the ball and running the offense.”
But Johnson and Muckelvaney weren’t the only two who stood out in the spring game.
Middle linebacker Chris Ingram, who will be a junior, made plays all over the field for Maroon.
He had a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown with the clock reading 8 minutes, 41 seconds in the fourth quarter to go along with a litany of tackles.
“That kid has great instincts and finds the ball,” Searcy said, “especially on blitzes. He gets through there, and he’s pretty good when he’s going full speed. He had a couple nice plays out there tonight.”
Killeen also enjoyed seeing outside linebacker Vrashon Walker back on the field Friday. Walker suffered a season-ending leg injury in pre-district play last season, but he showed no ill effects in the spring game — he was in the backfield all night long for White.
“It was good to see him out here, running around and making plays like he always does,” Searcy said. “He had several big hits tonight, and it was good to see that.”
Marquis Nieves added a difficult interception for Maroon in the second half, as he hauled in a deflected pass with one hand along the right sideline and raced 46 yards to set his team up with great field position.
The Kangaroos played four 10-minute quarters, and Johnson and backup signal caller Bo Buckley played a half for both squads.
Maroon got on the board first with 5:17 left in the first quarter, as Buckley connected with Muckelvaney on a back-shoulder fade in the end zone for an 11-yard score and a 7-0 advantage.
Johnson responded for White on a dazzling 25-yard touchdown scamper, as he eluded multiple defenders and eventually outran the defense to pay dirt to tie the contest at 7-7.
With 4:25 left in the half, Johnson found Colin Price for a 10-yard pass-and- catch to put White ahead 14-7. But Muckelvaney responded for Maroon with a 25-yard scoring grab from Buckley that saw the 6-foot-5-inch wideout leap over two defenders at the goal line to haul in the pass, and the game was tied 14-14 at the halftime break.
Late in the third quarter, Muckelvaney caught his third touchdown pass — this time from Johnson — on a stop-and- go route, as Johnson perfectly placed the deep ball into Muckelvaney’s arms for a 54-yard touchdown and a 21-14 Maroon lead.
Ingram’s pick-six put Maroon up 28-14, and Jesus Gomez added three points with a 34-yard field goal for Maroon for the final tally with 6:41 left in the fourth.
Searcy was quite satisfied after Friday night’s action.
“We put some points up, and we saw some good defense,” Searcy said. “It was 31-14, so some points were put up, but there was a lot of defense. We split our kids up into two teams, and it was good to see them move the ball and play defense like that when they’re split up.
“When we put them all together, we’re pretty excited about what we have.”