Memorial High's bizarre football season – still unbeaten but with mounting setbacks – has found another level with standout junior wide receiver/defensive back Johnny Johnson transferring to Central this week.
Central Section commissioner Jim Crichlow said he's begun processing an athletic eligibility transfer request he's received from the Johnson family, but declined further comment until he makes a ruling.
Johnson, who's already been offered a scholarship by Stanford, faces multiple transfer issues that virtually guarantee he won't be eligible at Central until Oct. 13, 2012.
First, while living in Central's attendance area, he's technically not moving out of Memorial's boundaries. A private school, Memorial's boundaries stretch across the Fresno, West Fresno, Central and Clovis school districts.
And California Interscholastic Federation rules prohibit a varsity transfer athlete from playing at his/her new school within 365 days without making a full family move from one district to another. Oddly, in this case, Memorial and Central share one.
Johnson's official date of transfer was Wednesday. And that means, barring a successful appeal, he'll be prohibited from playing football at Central until Oct. 13, 2012.
Memorial coach and athletic director Anthony Goston said Johnson left the school and team without giving him an explanation.
Another twist has Johnny Johnson Sr., the player's father, remaining with the Panthers as an off-campus secondary assistant.
All this comes a week after Memorial senior middle linebacker Teryn Torosian, after starting four games, was declared ineligible for the rest of the season because of a transfer issue.
And then, last Friday night, in a 28-8 nonleague win over Mt. Whitney, the Panthers lost powerful nose tackle Jaylen Ruiz for probably two weeks with a sprained knee and had wide receiver/defensive back Jordan Stallworth ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct. That brings with it an automatic one-game suspension, meaning he'll miss the team's County/Metro Athletic Conference opener tonight at Sanger.
For all that, the Panthers remain 5-0, ranked fourth overall in the section and No. 1 in Division II.
"Gotta fight through adversity," Goston says. "We'll be all right."