Former Trojan moves to Huntington team

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 19, 2006

FERRIDAY &8212; Terrance Johnson arrived at Huntington and didn&8217;t know anyone. Not any students, not the coaches, not the teachers.

He didn&8217;t know jack.

Others, however, may have known him. Johnson started at quarterback for two years across town at Ferriday High School. He ended his junior year being too old to come back and play his senior year with the Trojans. So the 5-9 speedster with a deceptive arm found somewhere where he could play.

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And the Hounds hope they can fill their hole at quarterback. Johnson is out this spring with the Hounds in their first spring football workouts under head coach Chad Harkins.

&8220;I never thought I&8217;d be over here, but I&8217;ve got another opportunity to show my talent,&8221; said Johnson, who earned first team All-District last season with the Trojans. &8220;I want to thank God and the people who helped me and supported me. I thought (my career) was over, but I never gave up.

&8220;I didn&8217;t know anyone, not even the coach. (My first day) was getting to know people, trying to make friends and get in good with my teachers. I&8217;ve to work hard to hopefully get a championship for my coach. I&8217;m glad he gave me the chance.&8221;

The transfer from the public school has gotten people talking about Hounds football &8212; him and the number of returners from last year&8217;s team that made a run at the playoffs until the second-to-last game of the season.

Only a handful of positions were vacant heading into Harkins&8217; first spring workouts &8212; quarterback, a wingback and two spots up front &8212; as the Hounds try to keep the momentum going from last year and do more things out of their coach&8217;s double-win, double-tight set.

&8220;We want to get everything buttery and crisp,&8221; fullback Ricky Dunbar said. &8220;We&8217;ve just been working hard, and we&8217;re trying to put everything together and play like a family. We all trust each other now. (The offense) was kind of hard for us at first. It was the first time for me running the offense, but now we&8217;re starting to execute plays better.&8221;

Much of the attention this spring may be on Johnson, who has to learn the offense quickly in his position. The offense is based on so much play-action with the fullback and the two wingbacks running their routes.

Johnson says he&8217;s about 95 percent confident with the system. His biggest thing to learn right now? &8220;Which way to go,&8221; he said.

&8220;He&8217;s doing well,&8221; Harkins said. &8220;He started off kind of slow, but it&8217;s kind of fallen into place for him. He&8217;s picked up everything quick. We&8217;ll throw a little more with him. He&8217;s got a pretty good arm. We may throw it more than we have in the past, but we&8217;re still going to run the football.&8221;

That&8217;s fine with Johnson, who displayed good arm strength in his two seasons at quarterback with the Trojans. The system is designed to throw it a ton, but his arm and the speed at the wingback spots may allow the Hounds to do more of that this fall.

Passing, Harkins noted, was something the Hounds did very little of in 2005.

&8220;The more I practice, the better understanding I get of the offense,&8221; Johnson said. &8220;It&8217;s everybody doing their thing, and everybody getting the ball. It&8217;s not one individual who&8217;s going to shine.&8221;

Jody Cottongin will return at one of the wingbacks with either Richard Steele or Franklin County transfer Colin Stacy at the other wing. Kyle Holzhaub will step in at tight end after the Hounds&8217; lost Ples Arthut to graduation.

Of the front five offensive linemen, only Alex Willis was a senior last year. Returners are Trey Brasher, Kameron Cupit, Max Jackson and Seth Swilley. Chris Carroll, a transfer from Block, may start in there as well.

&8220;We&8217;ve been working all spring trying to get stronger and learn all the plays,&8221; Holzhaub said. &8220;We have a lot of experience on the team. Last year we didn&8217;t have a lot of experience with the offense, but now we can execute the plays better. And the people who are new, we can explain it to them because we know.

&8220;We&8217;re more versatile. They expect us to run it up the middle, but we&8217;re going to open up the pass more this year.&8221;

That could raise the expectations of a team that will have some this fall. The offense is so run-dominant that folks can pile up in the box to try and stop it. Johnson and his arm, however, could change all that this fall.

&8220;Me, personally, this is my first year playing in a private school,&8221; Johnson said. &8220;I&8217;ve never experienced anything like this. But I believe the guys around me, they want to win. Everybody wants to win.&8221;

Steele is one of them.

&8220;We&8217;ve got a team of seniors, and we&8217;ve got lots of talent,&8221; Steele said. &8220;Our main goal is Trinity. That&8217;s what we&8217;re worried about.&8221;