It stands to reason that a highly sought after high school football player, especially a quarterback, could take over a game and lift his club at the most important time.
Lindale High School fans saw firsthand what Roschon Johnson can accomplish this past Friday at Houston’s NRG Stadium in the Eagles’ 50-28 Class 5A II Region III Area playoff loss.
The University of Texas-bound Johnson was responsible for six touchdowns (four on the ground, two through the air), nearly 480 yards in total offense and single-handedly wrecked Lindale’s hopes to advance to the regional semi-finals.
To be sure, the Eagles put up a good fight, leading 21-14 in the first half on a 74-yard touchdown pass from Brayson Campbell to Conner Boyette, a six-yard score from running back Jordan Jenkins and a 43-scoring strike from quarterback Dillon Heinaman to Brennan Moore.
But once Johnson got revved up, the Indians weren’t going to be denied.
The tipping point came in the first five minutes of the third period. Johnson ripped off scoring runs of 87 and 73 yards and Cooper Hammond scored on a nine yard pass to virtually put the game out of reach.
“I thought we would be fine as the second half got under way,’’ said LHS Head Coach Chris Cochran. “But we just couldn’t stop (Johnson).’’
After the Eagles went ahead 21-14 on Heinaman’s scoring pass to Moore, PNG’s Johnson scored on a one-yard run to tie the game. On the Indians’ next try, Jose Ceja hauled in a 43-yard scoring strike from Johnson to increase their lead to 29-14 after Johnson converted a two-point conversion.
Lindale’s final tally came on an eight-yard pass from Heinaman to Jaymond Jackson.
“It looked like in the first part of the third quarter we would be in the game,’’ Cochran said. “We were going back and forth and we kept battling back. I really thought we would be fine.’’
Numbers-wise, the Eagles were led in rushing by Jenkins who picked up 94 yards on 22 carries, while Heinaman had 24 yards on 12 carries.
The Lindale quarterback was 19-of 29 for 230 yards and two scores. Boyette led the Eagles in receiving yardage with 120 yards on three catches, while Moore hauled in seven passes for 108 yards and Colton Brown added 55 yards on five catches.
“It was a tough night, but overall it was a good experience for us – especially the younger players,’’ Cochran said. “But like I told them after the game, this is not the peak of our program. We want to be playing in December.’’
Before the season, various publications had Lindale well out of the playoff picture but the Eagles managed to secure District 9-5A wins over Whitehouse, Nacogdoches, Jacksonville, Hallsville and Mount Pleasant.
In bi-district, the Eagles took down Montgomery High School, 52-38 to earn a berth in the area playoffs in Houston against one of the top Class 5A teams in the state.
“We’ve got our sights set on bigger things from now on,’’ Cochran said. “(The players) are going to be able to look back on this season and understand that all those weeks of hard work paid big dividends.’’