TRIBUNE-HERALD SUPER CENTEX SIX-MAN FOOTBALL TEAM: Abbott standout was team's heart, soul

 

Hunter Johnson’s passion for football began at an early age and was sparked by a man who served as an inspiration for many people.

As a young child, Johnson said he and his grandfather, the late James Arnold “Hoot” Johnson, would stay up late Saturdays and then stay together all day on Sundays watching football.

Johnson began playing peewee football in fourth grade, and Hoot was always there to cheer him on until passing away in September 2008. Hoot lost both legs and an arm in an electrical accident in 1970, but he didn’t let it keep him down, a lesson Hunter carries with him.

HUNTER JOHNSON

Running back
Sr, Abbott

Two-time Super Centex player of year tormented defenses by rushing for 11 yards per carry, 37 TDs

“The last two years, I’ve been playing for him,” Johnson said. “He’s been my inspiration to go the extra mile or the extra inch and just work as hard as I can because of all the stuff he did in life.”

Hunter has surely done his grandfather proud.

Terry Crawford recently completed his 13th year coaching at Abbott and said Johnson’s passion for the game is what makes him a special player.

“When Hunter comes to the field, whether it’s a practice or a game, you’re going to get 100 percent all the time,” Crawford said. “He leads by example more than he does vocally, and that’s a good thing. He’s a good one for the young kids to look up to and say, ‘This is how you practice and this is how you play, with this kind of energy and this kind of effort.’ If we can get them all to play like that, we’ll have a successful run for a long time.”

It’s that inspired play, combined with spectacular athletic ability, that earned Johnson his second straight nod as the Super Centex Six-Man Player of the Year.

He’s the first player ever to win the award in back-to-back seasons and the fourth Abbott Panther to claim the honor in the last five seasons.

Johnson was a one-man wrecking crew on both sides of the ball, rushing for 1,862 yards and 37 touchdowns while racking up 122 tackles and an amazing 32.5 tackles for loss on defense. He also forced six fumbles, recovered eight and intercepted three passes.

“Athletic-wise, he’s the best player I’ve coached on both sides of the ball,” Crawford said. “I may have had a better offensive player or a better defensive player, but the complete package, he’s the best I’ve ever had.”

Unfortunately for the Panthers, Johnson’s value might have shown the most when he wasn’t able to play his best.

Johnson hurt a knee in Abbott’s first playoff game against Trinidad, wore a brace and was taped up for its state quarterfinal contest against Calvert. He scored a 35-yard touchdown to help the Panthers take a 30-14 lead into halftime.

Johnson was reinjured in that half on a cut block that ripped the tape. Abbott’s trainer retaped the knee at halftime, but Crawford said Johnson wasn’t able to move laterally in the second half.

Hunter Johnson

Abbott coach Terry Crawford describes two-time Super Centex Player of the Year Hunter Johnson as "the best player I've ever coached." (Rod Aydelotte photo)

Calvert took advantage, outscoring Abbott 42-6 after halftime to move on and end the Panthers’ season — and Johnson’s career.

Though the Panthers fell one step shy of last year’s semifinal run, it was still quite a season. Abbott started the year with a loss and later dropped a 31-30 decision to Penelope.

But the Panthers see that Penelope loss as a turning point, as they made some changes and ran off eight straight wins before falling to Calvert.

“I think this year we came in a little bit too big-headed, thinking we went to the semifinals last year and that it was going to be the same thing,” Johnson said. “Playing Penelope, when they beat us, it opened our eyes that we weren’t as good as we thought we were, and so we rededicated ourselves. I think we got the most we could after this season.”

Just like last year, when Johnson edged three teammates to claim the award, his toughest competition might have come from another player in his own backfield.

Abbott’s Bryan Price was also a two-way star, running for nearly 1,000 yards and returning four of his five interceptions for touchdowns.

Penelope’s Keith Williams was also a candidate after churning out 1,731 yards and 50 touchdowns to lead the Wolverines to an undefeated regular season and the school’s first-ever playoff win, while Iredell’s Brady Lee, Milford’s Jamie Johnson, Parkview’s Bryce Frazier and Walnut Springs’ Eddie Whitt were all integral to their teams’ success.

“We have a bunch of excellent players in the area,” Johnson said. “You’ve got Bryan Price from my team and Keith Williams from Penelope. There are a lot of good Central Texas players, so it’s just an honor to win it two years in a row.”

COREY McADAMS

Coach
Penelope

Coach took Wolverines to six-man elite status with undefeated regular season, win over Abbott

Coach of the Year: Corey McAdams, Penelope

Just three seasons ago, Penelope had never experienced so much as a winning season.

This year, the Wolverines won every game in the regular season to claim the school’s first district championship and followed that up with the school’s first playoff victory, a 40-38 thriller over Milford.

“Winning a playoff game is as good as anything we’ve ever done,” Penelope coach Corey McAdams said. “It was a fantastic night, and it was a lot of fun. It’s great to see the work you and the players have done finally bear some fruit.”

For continuing to take Penelope to new heights, McAdams has been named the Super Centex Six-man Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons.

The Wolverines found themselves trailing Milford on three occasions in the second half, but came back each time.

And when defensive lineman Jayson Williams pounced on a Bulldog fumble late in the fourth quarter, the Wolverine sideline erupted in celebration of yet another milestone for the program.

While the Milford win was the biggest in Penelope’s short football history, it was a 31-30 victory over Abbott earlier in the season that paved the way for an undefeated regular season.

“We felt this was a special group of kids, and we thought they were going to push things further than they’ve ever been,” McAdams said. To me an undefeated season is not a goal that you shoot for, but one of outcomes when you work hard and do things the right way. . . . I think the Abbott win made us believe we were really that good. Up till that point they were a little uncertain, and that game set us up to take off.”

McAdams edged Abbott coach Terry Crawford, who led the Panthers to the state quarterfinals despite losing eight seniors from the 2008 squad, and Walnut Springs coach Tim Trotter, who guided the Hornets to their second straight state semifinal.

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TRIBUNE-HERALD 2009
SUPER CENTEX 6-MAN FOOTBALL TEAM

FIRST TEAM

 

Pos Player Cl Ht Wt School
S Dez Buckaloo So 6-1 160 Milford
S Anthony Cook Sr 5-8 160 Penelope
QB Bryce Frazier Sr 6-0 260 Parkview
RB Hunter Johnson Sr 5-10 165 Abbott
CB Jamie Johnson Jr 6-0 175 Milford
QB Brady Lee Sr 5-11 165 Iredell
LB Bryan Price Sr 5-11 167 Abbott
LB Kody Stack Jr 5-10 162 Walnut Springs
QB Eddie Whitt Sr 5-9 175 Walnut Springs
RB Keith Williams Sr 5-11 185 Penelope

Player of the Year:  Hunter Johnson, Abbott

Coach of the Year:  Corey McAdams, Penelope

HONORABLE MENTION

Chris Rodgers, Bryan Schneider and Joe Beard, Abbott

Ryan Wilson and Manuel Vergara, Iredell

Adrian Pendleton, Rolando Vega and Ethan Burk, Milford

Johnathan Stack, Jacob White, Ryan Engelhardt, Matthew Prescher and Mario Ballesteros, Walnut Springs


DEZ
BUCKALOO

Safety
So, Milford

Newcomer of year in district accounted for 19 TDs, racked up 99 tackles and 7 INTs to help Bulldogs into playoffs

ANTHONY
COOK

Safety
Sr, Penelope

Led team in tackles, made key defensive stop to help Wolverines to first-ever postseason victory

BRYCE
FRAZIER

Quarterback
Sr, Parkview

Ran, threw for more than 1,000 yards, racked up 47 total TDs to lead Pacers from winless to postseason

HUNTER
JOHNSON

Running back
Sr, Abbott

Two-time Super Centex player of year tormented defenses by rushing for 11 yards per carry, 37 TDs

JAMIE
JOHNSON

Cornerback
Jr, Milford

District 13 offensive player of year also a force on defense, recording 115 tackles, pair of INTs

BRADY
LEE

Quarterback
Sr, Iredell

Stat-sheet stuffer threw for 19 TDs, ran for 5 more and picked off 12 passes, taking 2 of them back for scores

BRYAN
PRICE

Linebacker
Sr, Abbott

Two-time Super Centex honoree made biggest mark on defense by taking 4 of his 5 INTs into the end zone

KODY
STACK

Linebacker
Jr, Walnut Springs

Defensive standout had 161 tackles, six interceptions, in addition to contributing 14 scores on returns

EDDIE
WHITT

Quarterback
Sr, Walnut Springs

Hornets' best offensive threat was in on 49 total touchdowns for state semifinal squad

KEITH
WILLIAMS

Running back
Sr, Penelope

District 14 offensive MVP dazzled with ball in his hands, rolling up 1,731 yards rushing, scored 50 times

COREY
McADAMS

Coach
Penelope

Coach took Wolverines to six-man elite status with undefeated regular season, win over Abbott

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