In the aftermath of the season-ending knee injury to star senior quarterback Ryan Johnson, Hanford High football coach Josh Young is playing his replacement options close to the vest.
Young said “a couple different guys” will take snaps when defending Central Section Division III and State CIF Division IV-AA champion Bullpups, ranked No. 18 by The Bee this week, play at No. 10 Sanger on Friday.
Wanting to maintain a bit of secrecy, Young declined to name names other than to state that two options already contribute at other positions offensively and one didn’t suit up during last week’s 33-14 season-opening loss to Buchanan.
“There’s not really anything that prepares you for something like this,” Young said. “There are going to be a couple different guys we will put back there with some packages within the scheme of our offense. You don’t replace a guy like (Johnson) at all. You have to come up with new ways to have success with the guys you’ve got. The kids are resourceful though. I thought we responded well in the second half of the Buchanan game, and I hope to build off that.”
Johnson, The Bee’s Player of the Year last season, tore his left ACL while being sacked on the fourth play of the game against Buchanan on Aug. 26. It will wipe out the entire senior season for the 6-4, 190-pounder, who has helped lead the Bullpups to two section titles in football and also in basketball.
Johnson, who has given an oral committment to San Jose State for football, has passed for 4,944 yards and 54 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,282 yards and 23 scores while going 26-2 in two seasons as Hanford’s starting quarterback.
Johnson provided his team a lift Tuesday when he watched practice from the sideline.
“Given the situation he’s in, I thought that was huge,” Young said. “He’s supporting us. He’s gotten us out of tight jams and made so many plays for us and picked us up as a team and a family – and we’ve got to do the same for him now.”
An option to replace Johnson down the line for Hanford could be Terrell Wyatt, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound sophomore transfer from Lemoore. Wyatt, described by Young as the most experienced in the Bullpups’ offensive system at this point, won’t be eligible to play until Oct. 3 because of section transfer rules.
“I’m not saying he’s taking over the starting spot, but he could run our offense more to the style we’ve been accustomed to playing,” Young said. “It will be interesting to see how he progresses before he gets eligible.
“We have a tough preseason and we need to be able to get through these next couple of weeks and hopefully peak toward the league season.”
On the road again – It wasn’t Edison coach Matt Johnson’s idea to open the season on a two-game, 1,050-mile road trip.
But that’s how it’s played out for the No. 6 Tigers, who launched their season Saturday at Ventura College with a 33-0 loss to Brophy College Prep-Arizona at the Under-Armour-sponsored Brothers in Arms Classic. This week they go to Reno to face Damonte Ranch on Friday.
Edison was forced to scramble to fill out its schedule after being dropped by Buchanan and Bakersfield, whom the Tigers played in their first two games each of the past two seasons.
Buchanan dropped Edison to add Hanford, while Bakersfield backed out to take a game at Cathedral Catholic in San Diego against Bear Creek-Colorado.
“It’s the circumstances,” Johnson said. “We didn’t have much choice in the matter. It was either travel or play eight games – and we’ve got to play.”
Edison was recommended for the Brothers in Arms Classic by Bakersfield coach Paul Golla, while Tigers assistant Jason Murray found Damonte Ranch as the only school in California or Nevada with an open date Sept. 2.
Brophy is ranked No. 6 in Arizona and Damonte Ranch is No. 12 in Nevada, according to Maxpreps. It will be a combined 18 hours of bus rides for the two round-trips.
“I would rather prepare against the best and be ready for a playoff run than take it easy,” Johnson said. “The Edison Tigers will be judged on how we look in October, and these road trips will only make us better down the line. We’ll be battle-tested when playoff time comes.”
Johnson said his team looked better than the score indicated against Brophy. Moving the ball behind quarterback Adrian Galarza (24 of 36 for 206 yards passing), Edison got into scoring position seven times without producing a point.
The Tigers trailed 7-0 at halftime on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown, but Johnson said it could have easily been 21-0 Edison had his team been better prepared.
“We have a very good football team that is far from being polished up and ready to take on any heavyweights,” Johnson said. “But I saw enough in that game. We handed it to those guys in the first half.”
Week 2 schedule
Buchanan vs. Bullard (McLane), 7 p.m.
Centennial vs. Clovis West (Veterans Memorial Stadium), 7 p.m.
Madera vs. Mission Oak (Mathias Stadium), 7 p.m.
Granite Hills at Farmersville, 7:15 p.m.
Hoover vs. Sierra Pacific (Neighbor Bowl), 7:30 p.m.
Frontier at Paso Robles, 7 p.m.
Sunnyside at Central, 7 p.m.
El Diamante at Tulare, 7 p.m.
Laton at Yosemite, 7 p.m.
McFarland at Yosemite, 7 p.m.
Mendota at Liberty-Madera Ranchos, 7 p.m.
Minarets at Sierra, 7 p.m.
Taft vs. Monache (Granite Hills), 7 p.m.
Woodlake at Exeter, 7 p.m.
Central Valley Christian at Bakersfield Christian, 7:15 p.m.
Orosi at Parlier, 7:15 p.m.
Avenal at Lindsay, 7:30 p.m.
Chavez at Golden Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Corcoran vs. Hanford West (Neighbor Bowl), 7:30 p.m.
Dinuba at Reedley, 7:30 p.m.
Foothill at Arvin, 7:30 p.m.
Fowler at Firebaugh, 7:30 p.m.
Hanford at Sanger, 7:30 p.m.
Independence at Stockdale, 7:30 p.m.
Kingsburg at Golden West, 7:30 p.m.
Madera South at Kerman, 7:30 p.m.
Mira Monte at Kennedy, 7:30 p.m.
North at East Bakersfield, 7:30 p.m.
Porterville at West, 7:30 p.m.
Redwood at Clovis East, 7:30 p.m.
Ridgeview at Liberty-Bakersfield, 7:30 p.m.
Riverdale at Orange Cove, 7:30 p.m.
Dos Palos vs. Roosevelt (Sunnyside), 7:30 p.m.
Memorial at Lemoore, 7:30 p.m.
Selma at Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Shafter at Highland, 7:30 p.m.
South at Delano, 7:30 p.m.
Tulare Western vs. Mt. Whitney (Mineral King Bowl), 7:30 p.m.
Bear Creek-Lakewood, Colo. vs. Bakersfield (Cathedral-San Diego), 7 p.m.
California City at Littlerock, 7 p.m.
Clovis at Turlock, 7 p.m.
Bellarmine-San Jose vs. Clovis North (Veterans Memorial Stadium), 7 p.m.
Edison at Damonte Ranch-Reno, 7 p.m.
Garces at Arroyo Grande, 7 p.m.
Oak Park at Desert-Edwards AFB, 7 p.m.
Rosamond at Lancaster, 7 p.m.
Silver Valley-Yermo at Kern Valley-Lake Isabella, 7 p.m.
Strathmore at Templeton, 7 p.m.
Tehachapi at Burroughs-Ridgecrest, 7 p.m.
Yerington-Nev. at Bishop, 7 p.m.
Gonzales at Coalinga, 7:30 p.m.
Livingston vs. Fresno (McLane), 7:30 p.m.
INTERSECTIONAL (8 MAN)
Kings Christian-Lemoore at Anzar-San Juan Bautista, 6 p.m.
Coast Union at Fresno Christian, 7 p.m.
Frazier Mountain-Lebec at Desert Christian-Lancaster, 7 p.m.
INTERSECTIONAL (8 MAN)
Alpaugh at Shandon, 1 p.m.