RUSKIN — Will he run with it?
Will he throw it?
Will he catch it?
If the idea is to keep opposing defenses guessing, Lennard certainly will do that this season with senior Diontae Johnson.
A three-year starting quarterback, Johnson threw for 988 yards with seven touchdowns last year and also rushed for 121 yards. Head coach Keith Chattin said he might also put Johnson at receiver. He’ll also play defense as a cornerback.
“He’s probably the most underrated player in the county,” Chattin said. “He’s had to be our offense the last two years.”
Johnson said his knowledge of the offense will help in working with a younger bunch of receivers.
“It comes easy to me now,” he said. “I know where everyone is. If they ask me something, I’m there to tell them where to be.”
Johnson missed two games last season with a high ankle sprain, an injury he said could have been avoided had his footwork been better. This offseason, Johnson worked on improving his drop step and movement in the pocket.
Still, Johnson knows where’s he most effective on the field.
“I’m more dangerous running,” he said.
Johnson was a key member of the Longhorns’ basketball team last season, which reached the state final four, the farthest of any sports program in school history.
Creating a similar run for the football team is a goal Johnson wants to achieve.
“I have to be a leader and do whatever it takes,” he said.
Diontae Johnson, now in his third year on varsity, gives Lennard a number of options on offense. A three-year starting quarterback, Johnson threw for 988 yards with seven touchdowns last year and also rushed for 121 yards. Head coach Keith Chattin said he might also put Johnson at receiver. Junior Rowdy Driggers will anchor the offensive line, while Jahryn Bailey and Josh Salman will be the features backs in the Longhorns’ running game.
The middle linebacker position has always been a bright spot for Lennard, and that tradition continues with junior Josh Anderson, whom Chattin said will be the leader on the defensive side. Lennard’s secondary, however, will be the team’s strongest unit on defense, with Johnson playing defensive back.
“We’ll be able to cover people,” Chattin said.
Now in his third season, Chattin will have his largest roster.
“We have four guys taking the spot of one guy,” Chattin said.
The increase of players is an invaluable improvement, Chattin said, due to previous problems with staying competitive in the second half.
“We didn’t have depth and we got tired,” he said of last season’s 1-9 team. “We played sloppy when we got tired.”
Though part of perhaps the toughest district in Hillsborough County, Chattin said the stiff competition will only make his program better.
“I like the tougher (district) because it shows where we want to be,” he said. “Every week, we’re going to play somebody good.”
♦ About The Longhorns
Stadium: Lennard Stadium, 2002 E. Shell Point Road, Ruskin
Class-District: 6A-8 (with Armwood, Blake, Chamberlain, Hillsborough, Jefferson, King, Leto and Robinson)
Coach: Keith Chattin (1-19, third season)
Last season: 1-9
Aug. 29: at East Bay
Sept. 5: at King
Sept. 12: Chamberlain
Sept. 19: at Blake
Sept. 26: Hillsborough
Oct. 2: at Robinson
Oct. 10: Jefferson
Oct. 17: at Armwood
Oct. 24: Leto
Oct. 31: Spoto