TERRE HAUTE —
Maybe it’s the beard that does it — the one he started growing late in the American Legion baseball season — but Terre Haute South receiver/defensive back Jacob Johnson has the look of an elder statesman this fall as he competes in high school football for Terre Haute South.
Of course, who has more right to look that way? Or, much to the delight of his coach, act that way as well?
“He’s a four-year starter, and he’s taken a leadership role on this team,” Tim Herrin said this week, “not only with his effort, but with helping the younger players progress along.”
If being one of the old men on the team is something new for Johnson, it’s a role he enjoys.
“It seems like my freshman year was just last year,” he told the Tribune-Star this week. “It’s nice knowing you’re putting work in and finally getting something out of it. This season is the start of something new, and it’s nice to know you’re one of the ones starting it.”
Count Johnson among the Terre Haute football players who have been revitalized by a couple of developments since last year — leaving the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference and having the biggest schools in the state bump up to the new Class 6A.
“We’re not in the MIC anymore, and we want to start a winning legacy,” he said this week. “We want to learn how to win, have that winning mentality.”
With that kind of emphasis in mind, it’s easy for an observer to pick out the personal highlight of Johnson’s four-year career with the Braves so far.
Three weeks ago he made a sliding catch in the end zone with 34 seconds left in the game, scoring the winning touchdown against Terre Haute North to cap a two-touchdown rally by the Braves in less than two minutes.
“Senior year, North-South game, winning touchdown — for sure [that’s the highlight],” Johnson agreed. “But my freshman year, when we went to the semistate in baseball, that was a fun ride too.”
Yes, Johnson is a four-year regular for the Braves on the diamond too. But when he was questioned about potentially winning eight varsity letters, he was quick to offer a correction.
“I’ll have four academic letters too,” he pointed out, noting that the qualifications for that included a grade-point average of at least 3.8 during his freshman and sophomore years. “I try to do well on and off the field.”
Herrin appreciates both aspects of his senior leader.
“He has a very high football IQ,” the coach emphasized. “He picks things up really quick; he has advanced route-running skills because of that.”
Johnson can play any one of South’s four receiving positions, the coach added, and is capable of playing anywhere in the defensive backfield as well. He occasionally goes in motion to carry the ball, and just for good measure, “he’s one of our best blockers,” Herrin said. “He’s helped our running game tremendously.”
It’s all good for Johnson this season, his healthiest as a Brave (he knocks on wood while discussing that) and potentially his most successful. A loss at Perry Meridian last week gave South its first Conference Indiana setback, but tonight’s trip to Columbus North is an opportunity to get back on the winning track.
“We’ve had a good start to the season,” he said. “The first half [at Perry Meridian] was a little sluggish, but coach Herrin challenged us at halftime and we were resilient and fought back. We know we can’t dig ourselves a hole [and expect to win].”
Although South’s receiving corps is deep, Johnson leads the team in yards — he’s caught 19 balls so for for 344 yards and four touchdowns — and often seems to be the target in the tough situations.
“Me and [quarterback] Timmy [Herrin] are working together well,” he said, “but all the receivers are [working well]. We’ve just got to keep it up.”
Braves' senior wide receiver leading team into heart of Conference Indiana schedule
TERRE HAUTE —
- High School
Study looks at effects of concussions
Austen Cummings sits in class and can’t remember what he’s supposed to focus on. He doesn’t have a learning disability or an attention disorder. The Homestead High School sophomore suffered two concussions in the span of two months while playing football. The concussions have caused Cummings to blank out in class, at times for almost a half-hour.
Even high-rated helmets may not protect players
Two studies this year highlight the tough choices and conflicting information that parents and coaches face when trying to protect football players from head trauma.
PREP ROUNDUP: West Vigo girls basketball cruises past Sullivan
Lexus Elkins poured in 15 points, Shyanne Elkins contributed 13 and McKenzie Little added 11 to lead the host Vikings over Sullivan 57-40 in Western Indiana Conference action Tuesday night inside the Green Dome.
Terre Haute South girls hold off Northview's surge
A funny thing happened on the way to a Terre Haute South blowout victory Tuesday night at Northview High School. The Knights fought back and nearly pulled out a win.
Three-point baskets by Kennedy Williams and Lauren Perrelle and free throws by Kylie Fendrick and Lauren Hambrock preserved a 53-50 win for the Braves over the Knight.
Casey beats Terre Haute South with last-second layup
On many nights during this high school basketball season, the shots are going to fall for both Casey and Terre Haute South and both teams are going to look really good.
Tuesday was not one of those nights.
Former North Central inducted into Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame
Thirteen men will become official members of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame when they are inducted into the Hoops Hall at the annual dinner in March.
Matchups set for wide-open Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic field
Sometimes the ping-pong balls used to draw the high school basketball pairings for the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic have a wisdom all their own, and that seemed to be the case Tuesday at Terre Haute North.
Metro sports: ISU women play today at No. 15 LSU
Indiana State’s women finish a three-game road swing by playing nationally ranked LSU at 12:30 p.m. today at Baton Rouge.
Tonight’s prep basketball
Casey at Terre Haute South
PREP ROUNDUP: North Central falls at home to Eastern Greene
Eastern Greene’s Camden Sego popped in 18 points to lead to a 67-42 home loss for North Central in SouthWestern Indiana Athletic Conference boys high school basketball Saturday night.
Bertoli runs personal-best time to qualify for Foot Locker national championships
Reigning IHSAA state champion Jackson Bertoli, a senior at Terre Haute South High School, accomplished a personal-best time of 15 minutes, 14 seconds as he finished fifth in the Foot Locker Midwest Regional Championships for cross country Saturday morning at Wayne E. Dannehl Course.
New excitement: Opportunity to swim in new pool in near future has Vigo County athletes ecstatic
As excited as Mike Williams is about the start of the Terre Haute North High School swim season today, he’s just as excited that one of its circumstances won’t have to be repeated a couple of years from now.
Prep/Metro roundup: Marshall girls pick up big wins at Robinson
Marshall’s Lions got a huge girls high school basketball victory Friday afternoon at the Robinson Thanksgiving Tournament, downing Mt. Carmel and 2013 Illinois Miss Basketball Tyra Buss 57-53.
Today’s Vigo County boys basketball game
Terre Haute North at Lebanon
West Vigo boys rally to pull out season-opening OT victory
A season-opening high school boys basketball game at West Vigo on Wednesday night was as much about when the players did things as it was what they did.
Visiting North Vermillion seemed to have a close game under control the entire way because every time the host team made a run, Falcon star Brayden Woodard was there to answer.
Although West Vigo was never ahead in the last 28 minutes of regulation time, the Vikings got a game-tying 3-pointer from Alec Blair with 6.3 seconds left and pulled out a 47-46 victory on Braiden Cardinal’s driving layup with 10 seconds left in overtime.
Clay City hits 13 first-half treys in downing Wildcats
Clay City junior Evan Rogers hit his first 3-pointer of the night 45 seconds into the season opener at South Vermillion.
By the time another 2 minutes, 15 seconds passed on the scoreboard, he had hit a fifth 3-pointer, putting his Eels ahead 17-2.
Heat check? That time had already passed.
Rogers hit a sixth 3-pointer to put the Eels up 25-4 then finally missed one with 2:20 on the first-quarter clock.
Prep basketball: Marshall preparing for Capital Classic
Marshall is one of the boys high school basketball teams that will compete in the Capital Classic to be played at Lawrenceville and Red Hill.
The Lions will play their preliminary games at Lawrenceville, meeting Mount Carmel and Lawrenceville today and Pinckneyville on Saturday.
O’Leary eyes return to Hulman Center
Former Terre Haute North standout Matt O’Leary is hoping to help Loyola Chicago coach Porter Moser turn the program into a new chapter of success in a new conference.
Preps: Turkey Run wins boys basketball opener
Austin Jones tallied 14 points for Turkey Run in a season-opening 77-62 home victory over Southmont in boys high school basketball Tuesday night.
Northview opens with tough loss to Vincennes Lincoln in boys basketball
Coaches learn more about their team playing quality opponents than a weak opponent.
That is why Northview coach Clint Weddle wasn’t down after Vincennes Lincoln defeated the Knights 69-55 in the opening game of the boys high school basketball season for both teams.
Prep preview: Knights more comfortable with Weddle
The Northview boys team is a year older, wiser and more adept with the basketball.
The Knights also are are more comfortable with what second-year coach Clint Weddle wants.
After an 8-15 season in his debut, Weddle is optimistic about contending for Western Indiana Conference and Class 3A sectional crowns in 2013-14.
Prep preview: Young Vikings hope to rely on talent
Opposing coaches will have to search out junior varsity or eighth-grade film from 2012-13 in order to scout the West Vigo Vikings early on this season.
Coach Joe Boehler is optimistic that his boys high school basketball team will work hard to get up to speed to varsity play after achieving success at lower levels.
Prep preview: Ryan Luce steps up to fill Dave Mahurin’s shoes
A man of many hats, Ryan Luce probably won’t be bored anytime in the next several months.
Luce, 36, now serves as assistant principal, athletic director and boys basketball coach at Rockville. Previously the high school’s girls basketball coach for two seasons, he switched over after Dave Mahurin stepped down as coach over the summer.
South girls down Arrows by 47 in girls basketball
Terre Haute South got even in girls high school basketball Tuesday, defeating Sullivan 82-35.
Four players were in double figures for the Braves, 3-3 for the season. Kayla Speth led the winners with 15 points. She was 5 of 9 from the field with one 3-pointer and was the only South player to go to the free-throw line, hitting 4 of 7 at the stripe.
Lauren Perelle and Kylie Fendrick each had 14 points and Lauren Hambrock had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, connecting on 9 of 10 field goals.
BOYS BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Turkey Run picks up 77-62 win over Southmont
Austin Jones, Jake Amstutz and Jarred Russell all scored in double figures for the Warriors.
GIRLS BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Houser leads West Vigo to 66-19 win
Sophomore Brooke Houser led West Vigo with 14 points in a 66-19 victory as all 12 Vikings that played contributed to the scoring column in a girls high school basketball game.
A grateful coach: Cloverdale’s Hall of Famer Rady begins 50th season on sideline tonight
History is being made here. One sees it most Friday or Saturday nights in the winter, being quietly made by a man who isn’t necessarily quiet, especially when he sees bad play or a blown call.
- Depth should be a strength for Braves
Patriots to rely on youth this season
High school sports are rarely predictable, but there’s one thing fans can count on during the winter of 2013-2014. The percentage of playing time earned by seniors on Terre Haute North’s boys basketball team will be considerably less than it was a year earlier.
Metro roundup: Rose star is conference POW
After a career-high 31-point performance on Saturday night, Rose-Hulman senior Julian Strickland has been named Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week.
- More High School Headlines
- Study looks at effects of concussions