Johnstown Independent

Football

Schedule took toll on Johnnies

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

For the first time since 2010, coach Mike Carter and the Johnstown-Monroe High School football team sat out the postseason.

The Johnnies finished 5-5 overall after losing to host Licking Heights 21-7 on Nov. 1.

Four of the five losses came against eventual playoff teams -- Division III Chillicothe (20-7 on Aug. 30), Division II Licking Heights, Division IV Licking Valley (26-21 on Sept. 27) and Division VI Newark Catholic (42-21 on Oct. 11). The other loss was against Granville (26-13 on Sept. 20), which finished one spot out of the playoffs in Division III, Region 9.

Johnstown finished 15th in Division IV, Region 13. The top eight teams made the playoffs.

"I think if we had just got into the playoffs, we would have done pretty well," Carter said. "Our schedule was so brutal."

The Johnnies finished second (3-1) in the LCL-Small School Division, behind Newark Catholic (4-0) and ahead of Utica (2-2), Heath (1-3) and Northridge (0-4).

Senior defensive end Clayton Bullard was the district's defensive Player of the Year and the league's Lineman of the Year with 113 tackles, including 21 for losses, and 10 sacks. As a tight end, he had six receptions for 124 yards and one touchdown.

Junior running back Cody Farley (second-team all-district, first-team all-league) led the team in rushing with 1,579 yards and 21 touchdowns on 266 carries. In two seasons as a starter, he has rushed for 3,371 yards and 38 touchdowns on 551 carries.

Senior linebacker Harrison Johnson (second-team all-district, first-team all-league) had 119 tackles (20 for losses), three sacks, four fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. Junior linebacker Zack Fleming (honorable mention all-district, first-team all-league) had 70 tackles (12 for losses), four interceptions, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.

Junior offensive lineman Joey Norris was second-team all-district and first-team all-league, and senior place-kicker/punter Charles Benton (3-for-4 on field goals, 35-for-39 on extra points) was honorable mention all-district.

Senior quarterback Josh Kirkpatrick (second-team all-league) rushed for 383 yards and one touchdown on 95 carries and completed 43 of 89 passes for 677 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. Senior running back/defensive back Alex Workman (second-team all-league) rushed for 381 yards and six touchdowns on 44 carries and had 43 tackles and one interception.

Seniors Aaron Davis (OL/DL) and Loren Queen (LB; 56 tackles, 4 fumble recoveries) also were second-team all-league. Junior Eli Dowell (RB/LB; 44 carries, 180 yards, 3 touchdowns) was honorable mention all-league.

Senior wide receiver Nathanael Ashbrook had five receptions for 158 yards and three scores and ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.

Rounding out the 14-player senior class were Sam Bran-stool (WR/CB), Dalton Herron (WR/DB), Zach LaRue (WR/DB), Justin Rucker (OL/DL), Ryan Torres (WR/DB) and Logan Writesel (OL/DL).

"This senior class came out and worked their butts off every day, and the underclassmen fed off of that," Farley said. "They were vocal leaders and really inspirational."

"I'm extremely proud of this group of seniors," said Carter, who completed his 12th season. "Their leadership and enthusiasm were as good as any class I've had and they continued to work hard week in and week out."

Junior Brendan Barasch is expected to return in the defensive backfield after totaling 80 tackles and one interception.

Other top players expected back include juniors Ethan Clift (QB/LB), Jonathan Cox (OL), Mitch Montgomery (OL), Marcus Nogaj (TE/LB), Jake Taylor (OL/DL) and Matt Walton (OL/DL), sophomores Alex Catalogna (OL/DL), Jonny Chatfield (OL/DL) and Trent Coe (QB/DB) and freshmen Kyle Carpenter (QB/LB) and Jeff Nogaj (OL/DL).

"We have a lot of good talent coming back," Carter said. "The young kids need to keep working hard and it will be a lot of fun next year."

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