PORT LAVACA — Steve Johnson became Calhoun’s career rushing leader on a 70-yard touchdown run against Alice on Friday night at Sandcrab Stadium.
Johnson, a junior, was pleased to get the record, but happier about what appeared to be a 55-7 District 15-5A, Division II win.
“I’ve never been a person about records,” Johnson said. “But when I was playing last year they told me about the sophomore record. Of course, it was a big deal but at the same time, I couldn’t really focus on it because we had games to win and try to make it to the playoffs. This year, they told me about the record and I knew what I had to do, but at the same time my main goal was to win the game.”
The Sandcrabs did beat the Coyotes until they were forced to forfeit the game for using an ineligible player.
But the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Johnson played a key role for the Sandcrabs as he has since taking over as the starting fullback as a sophomore.
Calhoun fullback Steve Johnson during practice on Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/Nyr7m84n0Q— Mike Forman (@mikeforman21) October 9, 2019
He rushed for 328 yards and four touchdowns to bring his season total to an area-leading 1,102 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Johnson has now rushed for 3,499 yards in Calhoun’s option offense, surpassing the previous school record of 3,491 yards set by Jakorious Williams.
“People in the stands think we run one play, but we don’t,” said Calhoun coach Richard Whitaker. “You’ve got to know exactly where you’re hitting and last year we had some problems with that. But now he understands a lot better and knows where he needs to hit and knows how to squeeze some plays.”
Johnson played tight end and linebacker as a freshman, but worked closely with former all-state fullback Jesse Lopez.
Calhoun fullback Steve Johnson set the school’s career rushing record. pic.twitter.com/18pO3WBTbs— Mike Forman (@mikeforman21) October 9, 2019
“It was nerve racking at first,” Johnson said. “It was a lot harder than it was in middle school. The process and everything was different. The linemen were faster and I had to actually do things. It was always difficult trying to squeeze a double and throughout the season it started getting better and easier as the coaches worked with me.”
Johnson rushed for 2,324 yards and 15 touchdowns last season and earned first-team all-state honors while helping to lead the Sandcrabs to the quarterfinals.
“He’s so much stronger than he was last year,” Whitaker said. “But last year as a sophomore he was strong in his legs and his hips. We worked very hard on his hips during the offseason and you can just see it on film.
“He’s running through tackles and he’s a hard guy to bring down. He runs with his shoulders over and if he gets a seam, he won’t get caught. He’s got the top-end speed and that’s what makes him special.”
Johnson is averaging 10 yards per carry, but there are still elements of his game where he knows he needs to improve.
“My running game is good, but at the same time there are things we need to work on,” Johnson said. “At the same time, blocking is one of my main goals. I want to go into the game knowing I can block and run.”
Johnson is sure to add to his record-setting rushing totals, but his main goal is to help the Sandcrabs bounce back from their forfeit and make a run at a district championship beginning Friday against Tuloso-Midway in Corpus Christi.
“When we heard the news, it didn’t really bother us because we all make mistakes in this world,” Johnson said. “It’s a human thing. We knew that even before we found out we were going to lose, that we had to win out to achieve the goal we wanted. No goal has changed. We haven’t put our heads down. It gives us motivation to prove a point now.”