Defenders can’t get a clean shot on him. They always seem to miss when going after Jaquorian Johnson.

Behind his shiftiness and speed, Johnson leads the state merely two weeks into the season with 602 rushing yards, based on MaxPreps’ statistical leaders. Rosebud-Lott’s quarterback has racked up all those yards off 45 carries, averaging 13.4 yards per carry.

“He always seems to find a way to gain positive yards even when it’s not a good play or someone misses a block,” Rosebud-Lott coach Brad Ballard said. “They just can’t get him.”

Johnson is in his second year as varsity starting quarterback for the Cougars. It was more of a learning season for Johnson last year. So far in 2017, he’s light-years ahead of where he was last season.

“He is able to do some things this year that last year he wasn’t able to do,” Ballard said. “It’s his second year running our offense. We’re allowing him to make checks at the line of scrimmage. He puts in a good play. It always helps to have a leader and a general out there.”

Johnson isn’t a big guy. He’s 5-foot-9, 150 pounds. Over the offseason, along with advancing a couple of rounds in the state basketball playoffs and becoming a regional qualifier in track, Johnson put in work in the weight room.

“He’s stronger and, obviously, running track has made him faster,” Ballard said. “He’s always been pretty shifty. You can tell he’s added another dimension with his speed. He’s stronger and breaking tackles. He’s able to run so much more effectively.”

In 2015, Traion Smith of Cameron Yoe broke the Central Texas single-season record for rushing with 3,010 yards in 16 games. If Johnson maintains his current pace, he’d rush for 3,000 in the 10-game regular season.

La Vega (2-0) at Fort Worth Young Men’s Leadership Academy (0-1)

Players to watch: La Vega: Jamal Williams, Kemoche Hobbs; FWYMLA: Bryan Cottingim

Key matchup: Bryan Cottingim vs. Pirate defense

Breakdown: La Vega, ranked fifth in the Associated Press Class 4A high school football poll, looks to continue its undefeated start to the 2017 season as it travels north to take on Fort Worth Young Men’s Leadership Academy. A year ago, the contest wasn’t close.

The Pirates won, 65-0, as the defense held the Wildcats to 22 yards of total offense. So far this season, the pass has been more effective than the run for YMLA.

In their only game this season, a 19-3 loss to Chisholm Trail High School on Aug. 31, the Wildcats ran the ball 18 times for 75 yards. Meanwhile, quarterback Bryan Cottingim completed 21 of 44 passes for 238 yards.

But Cottingim will face a stingy La Vega defense. In last week’s 34-0 win over Lorena, the Pirates gave up 123 yards of total offense and forced five turnovers.

Touchdowns Against Cancer

Pledge It, the nation’s leading performance-based crowdfunding program, and MaxPreps have partnered to launch Touchdowns Against Cancer, the first national high school football program aimed to unify teams across the country in the fight against childhood cancer. According to touchdownsagainstcancer.com, 60,000 touchdowns are scored by high school teams across the country, while 175,000 children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide each year.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. From Sept. 14 to Sept. 30, every touchdown scored by a participating high school will directly benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Fans can pledge a donation for every touchdown their team scores. A donation of $5 a touchdown is enough to provide thermometers, $10 a touchdown supplies a medical testing doll used to help patients understand medical treatments and procedures, $25 a touchdown funds rehabilitation weights, while $100 a touchdown provides one pair of child-sized crutches.

So far, 330 teams have signed up to participate, including Wortham and Meridian from Central Texas.

For more information, visit touchdownsagainstcancer.com.

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