published Monday, October 7th, 2013

13 for '13: Chargers' Gage Johnson is prep player of the week

13 FOR '13 WEEK 7

• Brody Binder, Ooltewah: 18-of-24 passing, 186 yards, 2 TDs.

• Trevor Brown, Christian Heritage: 3 TD passes, completed 18 of 26, 253 yards.

• C.J. Cobb, North Jackson: Game-winning TD pass with 0:37 left.

• Slade Dale, Ringgold: 146 rushing yards, 111 passing yards.

• Tre Herndon, East Hamilton: 80-yard kickoff return, 65-yard TD reception.

• Gage Johnson, McMinn Central: 16 tackles (10 solos), sack, fumble forced, interception returned for TD.

• Michael Nolan, Grundy County: 3 TDs, 140 rushing yards.

• George Porter, Baylor: 3 TDs, 183 rushing yards.

• Brett Standifer, Bradley Central: 4 TD passes, 250 passing yards.

• Willie Stewart, Tyner: 67-yard TD pass, 71-yard fumble return.

• Payton Veraldi, Dalton: 2 TDs, 110 yards, completed 6 of 10 passes; 53 rushing yards.

• Logan Walters, Marion County: 5 TD passes with 9 completions in 16 throws.

• Jacob York, Rhea County: 2 TDs, 91 yards on 12 carries.

Gage Johnson's performance Friday against Sweetwater was only slightly above average for him.

McMinn Central's middle linebacker is the Times Free Press Player of the Week after being in on 16 tackles in the Chargers' 40-17 victory. He also had a sack, forced a fumble and returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown.

"He was making plays from one end of the field to the other," Chargers coach Josh Goodin said. "He was at the top of the tackles list in Friday's paper. He averages 11 solos and then gets another two or three assists."

Johnson is in the middle of McMinn Central's defense although he is only about 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds.

"They were throwing the ball, a lot of bubble screens, and he was going sideline to sideline cracking heads," Goodin said. "And his interception return came when we were up 14-7. They tried to dump [a pass] over the middle and he went to the house with it. It was a really big play for us at the time."

It was Johnson's second interception of the season.

He doesn't get to rest when the Chargers are on offense. He's in for most plays at fullback and is one of the reasons teammate Denzell Boyd is averaging better than 100 yards per game.

"His blocking is invaluable and, yes, it does have a lot to do with Denzell's yardage, but I think he had just one carry Friday night and he came up with 12 yards and a first down at a crucial point in the game," Goodin said.

A senior who just turned 17, Johnson is slowly beginning to attract attention from college recruiters.

"He has great grades and he's a hard worker regardless what he's doing. It translates to the field," Goodin said. "Lindsey Wilson is after him pretty hard and he visited Carson-Newman last weekend. I think he visited University of the Cumberlands today."

Contact Ward Gossett at wgossett@timesfreepress.com or 423-886-4765.

about Ward Gossett...

Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...

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