Central’s Johnson publicly announces his college choice
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the score to 49-28.
The rain cleared for a pleasant night in the 60s at Central High’s Koligian Stadium Friday.
The previous-day storm did cause an electrical short that rendered the scoreboard useless.
But so what?
It was a virtual Senior Night of perfection – but with one bombshell – for the Central Section’s top-ranked Grizzlies, who had All-America cornerback Jaylon Johnson commit to Utah before the game, then score on a reception and play superb defense, as they throttled No. 3 Clovis West 49-28.
Jaylon Johnson said he’ll have season-ending surgery to repair a torn left labrum that he’s been playing with all year long.
It clinched no worse than a Tri-River Conference title title while virtually assuring a Central Section Division I top seed for Central (8-1 overall, 4-0 league), which will close the regular season Thursday against winless Clovis East at Lamonica Stadium.
But the Grizzlies – who have beaten seven ranked teams in an eight-game winning streak – will play the rest of the season without Johnson, who said after the game he’ll have surgery next week to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder that he hurt in the summer and has been playing with all along.
“It was definitely a timing thing,” said the 6-foot-3, 190-pounder, who’s ranked sixth among national cornerbacks by Rivals.com. “Recovery time is four to six months, so I didn’t want to cut it too close. I want to get in some training time before I leave, wherever I go.”
As part of Central’s introduction of seniors and their parents on the field before the game, Johnson made his announcement by having his parents, Carmella and John Johnson, brother Johnny and godparents Bobby Gilbert and James Fuller display placards – 1-U-T-A-H. Johnson wears jersey No. 1.
He said he has made official recruiting visits to Nebraska and Utah and will still take others to USC, Arizona State and Oklahoma.
“The only way I’ll de-commit is if God tells me to,” he said. “Until then, I’m full Utah. But I’m still exploring.”
He said USC had been his choice until visiting Utah four weeks ago.
He had planned originally to announce his choice on Feb. 1, the first day to sign National Letters of Intent. But he moved the call up because of the surgery.
The only way I’ll de-commit is if God tells me to.
All-America cornerback Jaylon Johnson on his college choice, Utah
Central sophomore Trent Tompkins passed for 232 yards and three touchdowns, increasing his season total to 26 against only four interceptions, and Diotry Brewer rushed for 127 yards.
Linemen Samuel Satele and Brandon Ballard, in the play of the night, stopped Clovis West quarterback Adrian Martinez for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-1 from the Grizzlies’ 23 late in the second quarter and the Golden Eagles leading 14-10.
Martinez rushed for 154 yards and two TDs and passed for 224 yards and two more scores for Clovis West (6-3, 3-1).