In the sixth year of school history, the Johnson football team played in the state semi-finals for the first time. Coming into the season with no playoff wins, no one expected the Jags to make it past the first round of the playoffs-let alone make it to the state’s final four.
“It feels really good knowing that this season we exceeded all expectations and beat a team that Reagan lost to in the playoffs,” junior Dominik Metz said.
During the playoffs, the Jags upset some of the top teams in the state such as, Smithson Valley and Steele, the teams who defeated Johnson’s rival, Reagan in the playoffs the past two years. By beating Steele, the team established themselves as more than a cinderella story and topped Reagan by beating the team that sent them home the past two years.
“It was pretty cool to beat the teams Reagan lost to because they can be jealous and talk trash,” senior Hunter Rittimann said, “But they can’t now, because we have the upper hand.”
After getting beat by Reagan 42-14 on October 25, the team responded by winning six straight games while advancing to the state semi-final. The game can be considered a turning point this season, since they have played strongly since the loss.
“Our team responded well because we learned a lot from that loss,” Metz said, “It was definitely the turning point in our season.”
Johnson was coming off a season where they finished 4-6 and missed the playoffs, while Reagan was coming off a season where they finished 8-4 and lost in the the playoffs to Smithson Valley. Before the start of the season, no one would have expected that the Jaguars to make it further than the Rattlers, but Johnson took the Texas high school football circuit by storm.
“It felt good to have a turnaround like that because we work hard and last year it didn’t show,” Rittimann said, “It was cool to see it pay off.”
During the game against Katy, the team played in a round in the state playoffs which they had never played in before while Reagan sat at home, though Reagan is 7 years Johnson’s elder.
“It was cool making it to the semi-finals because no one ever thought we could make it that far,” Rittimann said, “But we believed in ourselves and proved a lot of people wrong.”