Ferriday High senior making statements on football field

Published 1:14 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Behind Division I commits spread across the Ferriday High School football team, Sam Johnson had previously skimmed by — watching quietly in the background.

Well, not anymore.

Now a senior, Johnson has become a statement maker, leading or co-leading the team in sacks and tackles for loss as a defensive end.

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“Sam is a sleeper — a sleeping giant,” Ferriday coach Stanley Smith said. “The last couple of years he has kind of been pacified. He understands the demand I am putting on him right now. He’s pushing through it, and he’s working hard.”

Johnson said while it has taken time to understand his role, adding to a defense that includes LSU commits Dantrieze Scott and Dare Rosenthal, he credits his success to a long summer of workouts.

“What we did this summer, Coach Smith really put in the work with us,” he said. “We ran the town every day. We worked on techniques. We worked on footwork. We lifted weights every day.

“He always told me I was going to be a monster. I sort of believed it, and then he started teaching me all the techniques to my position. He taught me so much that I didn’t know about, and this is really my first year using all of it in a game. It’s really been working for me. Everything I know now, it made me way better than what I was.”

As an LHSAA Class 2A school, Johnson has led Ferriday (5-2) past multiple schools in high classifications this season, including Class 5A Alexandria High and LaGrange and Class 4A Franklin Parish.

And while those wins are a plus, he said, Johnson is hoping to make it deep within his realm of schools.

“The further we go into the playoffs, the better chance I have to go to a DI school,” Johnson said. “That’s what I want to do.”

Smith added Johnson is not only a force at his position on the Trojan defense, but also the entire team.

Johnson also serves as the punter and placekicker for Ferriday.

“He’s a great pass rusher and physical at the point of attack. He has a motive, but he has also done everything I ask of him,” Smith said. “He’s a senior that whatever I call on him to do, I can count on him to do it.”

Though Johnson stills sees himself as a bit of a dark horse — as he might always — he said he enjoys seeing all of his dedication pay off.