Northside linebacker Caleb Johnson had a strong junior season and worked through the offseason to be the top defender in the Chattahoochee Valley. With the season now over, there’s no doubt in saying Johnson made that goal a reality.
Johnson was simply unstoppable at linebacker for Northside, piling up 104 tackles, 8 sacks and 16 tackles for the loss. The senior also had three defensive touchdowns, two blocked kicks and three fumble recoveries to help Northside have its most successful season since 2005.
Thanks for Johnson’s play, he has been selected as the 2017 All-Bi-City 4A-7A Defensive Player of the Year.
“My season was good,” Johnson said. “I really enjoyed it. I liked the team we had. We played hard and fought good. I love those guys.”
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For a player like Johnson, the preparation all began where the 2016 season ended.
Johnson explained at this year’s Sportsvisions banquet that he was motivated to be named the area’s top defender in his senior season, an objectively he ultimately achieved. To make that and other aspirations come true, Johnson stayed dedicated to his regiment in order to help the Patriots reach their full potential.
“There were a lot of hours in the weight room and a lot of hours on the practice field,” Johnson said. “It was a grind.”
No one game illustrated Johnson’s commitment to the game better than Northside’s showdown with Spencer on August 31. Johnson didn’t let a bum ankle slow him down against the Greenwave, as he caught a 22-yard touchdown for the game’s first points and later returned a Spencer fumble for a touchdown.
“Late in the game, he was hopping around pretty good, but he made some plays early,” Northside head coach Morgan Ingram said after the victory. “He’s a fighter, and he never quit. It’s nice to have a guy like that.”
Johnson’s next step will be deciding where he’ll go to school. He has many options to choose from thanks to offers from Auburn, Georgia, Louisville, Tennessee and several other prominent programs.
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports