Johnson's catch helps W.C. East roll
West Chester East defensive lineman Rashaad Johnson never believed his coaches.
When asked to change his number from 56 to 92 so he could be an eligible receiver on offense, he put up a fight, thinking the coaches couldn't be serious. He had never played offense before in his life - why start senior year?
But after a play action left Johnson unguarded in the back of the end zone and the ball was heading his way, the heart inside his hulking 6-foot-3, 260-pound frame was racing.
Somehow, Johnson stayed calm enough to reel in the 4-yard touchdown and break the game open in West Chester East's 24-7 nonleague win in a season opener at Penn Wood.
"I thought Coach was just lying," said Johnson, who grinned from ear to ear recalling the catch that gave East a 17-0 lead in the third quarter. "I didn't think that was going to be called at all."
After Johnson made the grab, he froze, remaining grounded and stoic as the rest of East's offense flew toward him with many going aerial for a shoulder bump that the big man could not reciprocate.
"I was shocked I caught a touchdown," Johnson said. "I never got a touchdown before. That was my first time on offense."
"As long as I get it in the framework of his body, he'll catch it," East quarterback Jon Jon Roberts said. "He's a good athlete."
Johnson's catch proved to be the dagger in East's win, but Roberts put the game out of reach.
Running a fast-paced, no-huddle offense, he threw for 176 yards and ran for 35, tossed two touchdown passes, and ran for another to help the Vikings race to a 24-0 lead before surrendering a late score.
"He runs the ball well. He throws the ball pretty well," East coach Dan Ellis said of his sophomore quarterback. "Sometimes it's hard to remember he's only 15."
"We just wanted to show that we're not pushovers," Roberts said. "We're coming out, and we're going to be contenders this year."
West Chester East 0 10 14 0 – 24
Penn Wood 0 0 0 7 – 7
WCE: Jon Jon Roberts 22 run (Aaron Sulpizio kick)
WCE: FG Sulpizio 25
WCE: Rashaad Johnson 4 pass from Roberts (Sulpizio kick)
WCE: Chris Sheehan 40 pass from Roberts (Sulpizio kick)
PW: Karen Lucas-Tillery 4 run (Abraham Charles kick)
Contact Nick Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @NickJCarroll.