Milford Mill standout the complete package Football: Richard Johnson has played just about every position on the football field except lineman and linebacker, and plays them all well just ask him.

October 25, 1998|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Richard Johnson has done it all for sixth-ranked Milford Mill.

He's returned punts and kickoffs, and he's kicked off and punted.

Offensively, he's been a flanker, wide receiver, running back and quarterback. Defensively, he's played cornerback and safety.

The 6-foot, 165-pound junior has played every position except lineman or linebacker. He lacks nothing in talent -- as indicated by his 4.5-second, 40-yard dash clocking at a summer quarterbacks camp -- and he's not lacking in confidence, either.

"I feel like I can dominate from any position," said Johnson, who averaged 10.9 points and 3.4 rebounds in basketball. "I feel like as a wide receiver, if the ball's in the air, it's mine. As a quarterback, I can read the defense and call the right play to help us win."

Johnson, who has already drawn interest from schools such as Syracuse, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Maryland for football, gets the green light in critical situations from coach Reggie Brooks.

"We run a true triple-option with the dive, pitch and keeper and Richard calls the audibles mostly by himself," Brooks said of Johnson, a 3.4 student.

"We were on the goal line against Parkville when he called a shot gun and double slots and threw a TD," Brooks said. "He's always dying to play other positions, but we like him at quarterback because we can keep the ball in his hands."

In two seasons as quarterback, Johnson has passed for 1,340 yards and 19 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,230 and 15 touchdowns. This year, Johnson has completed 60 percent of his passes for 725 yards and 11 touchdowns, and has rushed for 350 yards and five more scores.

He's also caught a pass for a two-point conversion, intercepted three passes as a defensive back, returned punts 81 and 95 yards for touchdowns and returned a kickoff 90 yards for a score.

Coach Nick Arminio, whose No. 2-ranked squad from Eastern Tech (8-0, 7-0) plays the Millers (7-1, 7-0) on Friday night at Catonsville Community College, said his Mavericks face a huge challenge in Johnson.

"Once I saw him rolling left toward the sidelines, parallel with the line of scrimmage, and in a dead run, he laid the ball out and hit a kid 55 yards down field," Arminio said. "I mean he hit the kid while the kid was in stride. He plays with confidence, and you need that in a QB."

Johnson is anxiously looking forward to his assignment against Eastern Tech, where he'll be charged with shadowing the Mavericks' 6-3, 215-pound All-Metro and All-American wide receiver Anthony Lawston.

As a quarterback against the Mavericks, Johnson will again call on the several weapons at his disposal. There is fellow 4.5 speedster Tyrone Gholston, a running back, tight end Jared Brashears (6-1, 195), split end Brandon Thompson, flanker Renard Stancil and sophomore Jason Price -- all of whom have good hands, Brooks said.

Much of Johnson's motivation this year stems from last season, when the Millers shared the county's 3A-4A league crown with Woodlawn and Eastern Tech only to lose to eventual 3A state champ Wilde Lake, 9-6, in the first round of the playoffs.

Against Wilde Lake, Johnson replaced injured starter David Bazemore at running back after having played quarterback most of the season. Johnson rushed for 100 yards as the Millers got inside the Wildecats' 20-yard line several times, but the Millers' only score came as Johnson switched back to quarterback and threw a touchdown pass to All-Metro David Boyd.

"It really hurt to lose that game, but I was a sophomore, so I felt bad mostly for the seniors," Johnson said. "But I knew if I didn't get it then, I get it this year. I still feel that way."

Pub Date: 10/25/98

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