Salisbury's Johnson growing into big-time QB

An eye-opener as rookie, sophomore has Gulls 5-0

State notebook


October 24, 2003|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Dustin Johnson might be the best-kept football secret in this state.

The sophomore Salisbury quarterback has grown into a bona fide Division I-A prospect right before coach Sherman Wood's eyes.

However, Wood isn't advertising that Johnson is now a strong 6-foot, 180-pound, triple option quarterback after all the major colleges passed him over out of Delmar High near Salisbury because he was only 5-10, 150 pounds.

There was never any doubt about his talent or his speed - doing a 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds.

Johnson has so much ability that he prompted former Sea Gulls running back Tony Ellis to label him "The Future" on the field just four games into Johnson's collegiate career.

Johnson remembered that 2002 scenario when asked what has been his most memorable moment so far at the Eastern Shore school.

"It was fourth-and-three at the Greensboro 21 [with slightly more than a minute left in the game and Salisbury leading 23-18]," he said. "And I got trapped for what could have been a loss. I made a spin move and stayed on my feet [for a 15-yard gain and first down]. That's when Tony [then a senior] kept saying `The Future ... The Future.' "

Johnson then ran out the clock by taking a knee twice, giving the Sea Gulls one of their 14 victories in Johnson's 16 career starts. Salisbury is 5-0 this season and ranked 19th nationally in Division III.

He would go on to lead the nation in rushing yards for D-III quarterbacks with an average of 109.4 yards a game. He once rushed for 181 yards in one game, and he finished last year with 11 touchdowns and 1,203 yards rushing, the third-highest total in school history.

"People ask me why I stay here," Johson said. "It's because I know so many people, am enjoying myself, and have high goals of winning a national championship."

Novotny reaches semis

UMBC senior Josef Novotny's Cinderella trip to the semifinals of the Omni Hotels Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northeast championships was ended Tuesday by eventual champion Jamie Cerretani of Brown, 6-4, 6-2.

Novotny, seeded 10th, did not lose a set in the first three rounds to reach the quarterfinals, where he ousted third seed Stephane Rod of Virginia Tech, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.

In women's action at the Old Point National Bank ITA Invitational Monday at Old Dominion, UMBC junior Lana Khvalina reached the "B" Flight finals before losing to Richmond's Robin Carter, 7-5, 6-4.

Khvalina advanced through the first two rounds in straight sets to reach the quarters, where she won in three sets before eliminating Winthrop's Renata Barretto, 7-6, 6-4, in the semis.

Mach, McDaniel roll

Junior midfielder Leon Mach had one goal and two assists Tuesday as the McDaniel men's soccer team raised its record to 12-5 with a 3-1 victory over York (12-5-1) in a key non-league test.

Mach leads the Green Terror in assists with seven, and he has three goals. Thomas Kane, like Mach a junior midfielder from Calvert Hall, scored one goal in the win over York and continues to pace McDaniel in goals (14) and points (32).

Et cetera

Loyola senior Grace Wetzel and her brothers, UMBC freshman J.J. and Archbishop Spalding High freshman Rob, had a successful cross country weekend Oct. 10-11. Grace finished 35th of 289 entries in the Disney Cross Country Classic in Orlando, Fla.; J.J. placed third out of 76 runners in the Goucher College Mid-Atlantic Classic; and Rob came in 49th out of 136 in the Meade Autumn Classic.

Loyola athletic director Joe Boylan will represent the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference as one of 16 voting members serving two years on the NCAA men's basketball issues committee.

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