Johnson ready to lead DeWitt to more success in 2014 before heading to Central MichiganFootball  |
DEWITT – After leading his team to the Division 3 state championship game a season ago, Jake Johnson enters his senior year looking to take DeWitt just one step further this fall, helping the Panthers by winning a state championship.
While Johnson and his teammates don’t want to look to far ahead this season, he noted that the ultimate goal for the Panthers is to win the final game of the year.
“I think last year, we focused on that a little bit too much, but this year we want to take each game, one by one,” he said. “The goal is to obviously be there again and to win a state championship this year.
A season ago, Johnson was nearly impossible to stop through the air as he threw for over 2,000 yards and 31 touchdowns to lead the Panthers to a 13-1 record, the only loss coming in the state championship game to Zeeland West.
DeWitt head coach Rob Zimmerman said that to have several kids back from the runner up team last year has both the excitement and expectation levels high for his team this fall.
“Our kids are certainly excited, we played in the state finals last season and we have a lot of kids back, so the expectations are certainly high,” he said. “I think we’re just ready to get into some competition at this point.”
Committed to Central Michigan, most know about Johnson’s throwing ability as he’s become one of the best passers in the state, but Johnson is also very capable of making things happen with his feet as the 6-2, 203 pound signal caller runs a 4.47 40 yard dash.
Johnson believes that his running ability is something that not very many opposing teams and players are aware of and is hoping that he gets the chance to show that aspect of his game this fall.
“Last year I don’t think I showed my running game as well, but I can run the ball pretty well,” he said. “I’ve gotten a lot bigger this year and a lot fast year and I’m just hoping to show that.”
Zimmerman said that he feels his quarterback is much more athletic that what opposing defenses realize and added that with Johnson adding to his build in the offseason, he plans to utilize that athleticism this season.
“He’s a lot more athletic than what people realize,” he said. “We just didn’t use him in the run game unless we really had to last year, but we’re going to use him a lot more, because he’s put on almost 25 pounds since last year. He’s 6-2, 205 and a tremendous athlete, he can dunk a basketball and runs extremely well and that’s probably the thing that people don’t know about him.”
While Johnson was as good as advertised all of last season, the Central Michigan commit has continued to add to his game in the offseason.
Johnson said that he feels his arm has gotten even stronger since last fall and that he can read defenses much better this fall, which should help him become an even better quarterback in 2014.
“Arm strength is number one for sure, and just reading defenses and my knowledge for the game,” he said. “I know everything a lot better, so it’s a lot easier to execute everything out on the field.”
Johnson and DeWitt will get the season underway on August 28, when the Panthers travel to Linden.