Joseph Sweeney | staff writer
The Jags met the Rattlers in their district opener on Friday night, to bring home their third win against Reagan since 2008, with a final score of 38-31.
“When we opened this school in ‘08, the majority of students that came here to start Johnson were from Reagan, and that kind of creates that neighborhood rivalry, and it’s just grown over the past twelve years to where we are now, so, I think if you asked any athlete or any parent in the community who our biggest rival is without a doubt, they would say Reagan,” Head Football Coach Ronald Rittiman said.
It was the first match not only for the season, but also for the new football season realignment.
“Every two years we do a realignment in the UIL- every two years we redraw the district schedule and then all the head coaches get together and you draw a number out of the box and whatever number you get coincides with whoever else’s number, who play the first week,” Rittiman said.
Over the years, Johnson has seen Reagan as being it’s biggest individual challenge, with the two schools competing as equals for most of their existence.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know our exact records, but I would say they’ve won more varsity games than we have, we’ve probably won more JV, freshman games than that. We play five games every time we play them-there’s two freshman, two JV, and Varsity. I would say if you combine all five of those teams over the 11 years we have played, it’s probably a 50/50 split, but on the varsity level they’ve won more than we have, but we’re gonna change that this Friday,” Rittiman said.
After Friday’s game, Johnson can compete further for district championships before moving on to the play-offs.
“Our biggest challenge every year is we want to win all seven of our district games, we want to win them all, and as big as the Reagan game is for a lot of people, because of the rivalry and all of the commotion of it, but it’s still just one game.Our goal is we want to win all seven district games, beat the district champions, and see to the play-offs, that’s really what the goal is,” Rittiman said.
After the first three games with Brandeis, San Marcos, and New Braunfels, the football team felt that they had shown much improvement in their overall play, even though they have not won all their games so far.
“There’s no easy games in our schedule, every team we play is talented, well coached, they are good football teams and that’s why we play the schedule we play, but, I really like our chances this year. We’re improving, and it’s early in the year, only our fourth ball game, but I think we’ve shown some improvement in our first three games and if we go out and play like we’re capable of playing, it really won’t be about the opponent, it will be about us, if we play well, we’re gonna win the game, and if we don’t play well-we won’t win the game,” Rittiman said.
There will be many winners created in the football season this year, and Johnson and its community are ready to start the season off strong.
“We want our crowd to be loud and have a bunch of people there and make sure they can be helped with the momentum spike. You know when things are going good, we want to be as loud as we can and if things turn, because it is a game of ups and downs, but when things are going well, our crowd are the ones that can pick our guys up throughout the game. So, we’re going to be counting on our crowd to be really big this Friday,” Rittiman said.