Cook, Johnson lead VSU to big win over Johnson C. Smith

Fred Jeter | 9/15/2017, 11:27 a.m.
Trying to find just one man to replace quarterback Tarian Ayres would be difficult. So Virginia State University has located ...

Trying to find just one man to replace quarterback Tarian Ayres would be difficult. So Virginia State University has located two for the assignment.

Cordelral Cook and Niko Johnson have taken turns directing the Trojans to a 2-0 start heading into its Saturday, Sept. 16, bye week.

VSU, now 2-0 after trouncing Johnson C. Smith University 44-6 last Saturday in Charlotte, N.C., is off until Saturday, Sept. 23, when it opens at home against Winston-Salem State University at Rogers Stadium in Ettrick. Kickoff is 6 p.m.

Ayres served as VSU’s quarterback most of three seasons under coaches Latrell Scott (2014), Byron Thweatt (2015) and in 2016 under Reggie Barlow.

Cook hails from Stone Mountain, Ga., and transferred to VSU from Alabama State University, where Coach Barlow coached previously. Cook was Ayres’ top reserve a year ago.

Johnson is a former Hermitage High School standout who backed up Ayres in 2014 before taking a two-year break from football.

Against John C. Smith University, Cook passed for 106 yards, ran for 104 more and rushed for two touchdowns. Johnson came off the bench to hit four of eight passes for 64 yards, with two touchdown aerials.

In 2014, Johnson guided VSU to the CIAA championship win over Winston-Salem State University while Ayres was serving a one-game suspension.

Senior Trenton Cannon, on a mission to become VSU’s all-time rusher and scorer, raced for 152 yards and two touchdowns in last Saturday’s game.

VSU has now won six straight games over two seasons while outscoring the opposition a combined 259-100.

The Sept. 23 game against Winston-Salem State also will serve as Military Appreciation Day at VSU, located just 4.6 miles from Fort Lee.