Following another big victory over a Division II-A opponent, the Johnston High School Panthers varsity football squad secured the division title and a playoff berth on the strength of an 8-0 season.
Johnston is next scheduled to travel to Westerly [4-3 overall] on Friday night for a 7 pm contest.
After nearly giving up a touchdown on a fumbled punt in the first quarter of the annual Homecoming Game at Johnston High School, the Panthers stormed back to post 28 on the scoreboard in the first half on the way to a 42-6 victory over Warwick Veterans High School.
With the Hurricanes on the Johnston 2, the Panthers defense took advantage of a penalty and pushed Warwick further back on successive plays, then forced a fumble that gave Johnston the ball in Hurricane territory.
Senior Evan Hopson pounced on a fumble by Joe Santilli and rolled into the end zone for the first Johnston score.
Junior Mark Breton connected with Hopson on an 82-yard bomb to open the lead to 14-0, and senior Steve Simone found Hopson again on a 40-yard pass in the second quarter.
Senior captains Brendan Pappas and Victor Halton, and senior Steven Perfetto added scores before a late 20-yard run by Warwick's T.J. Boyadjian prevented the shutout.
See the accompanying video for an interview with Coach Joe Acciardo conducted before the Panthers took the field on Oct. 27.