Football fans at all levels have often heard quarterbacks pointing out those big, mean “Mike” linebackers that most offenses want to have a plan to reckon with on any offensive play.
This writer has heard of the rover, monster and various other terms but Eisenhower head football coach Javon Harris has thrown a new one my way, the “Snake” position.
However, Ike’s “Snake” Jovan Johnson is sure not a rattlesnake who gives off that warning sign that he’s around, and he’s not big enough to be a python or anaconda.
“Basically that position is a mix of linebacker and defensive back,” the 5-10, 160-pound senior said before Thursday’s practice. “We run a nickel defense and it’s just a way to get more speed on the field.”
As the “Snake,” Johnson’s job is pretty much what one might expect.
“Usually my assignments are based on what formations the opponents run,” he said. “For the most part I read the guards to see if they are pulling and come up and swarm to the ball. If the guards stay put then my assignment is to drop into the curl route and see whoever comes into that area. I just love that position.”
Johnson felt like his best game of the season came against MacArthur.
“I think the Mac game was my best but since then I think I have improved and learned a good deal more,” he said. “I was a safety last season so this is a fairly new thing for me.”
The Ike defense has been the strength of the team while the offense has been good at times but not at others.
“Our defense has been playing well and we are always trying to keep the offense feeling positive,” Johnson said. “We are there to support them. We have guys going both ways and the positive thing is we are in great condition and those guys have been playing well on both sides of the ball.”
Johnson is a Lawton native who got his start playing football at Almor West.
Like most high school students he’s into video games.
“I love all my classes,” he added when asked about his classroom experiences. “I get along great with all my teachers and they are all into getting the students heavily involved in classroom discussions.”
While Johnson hasn’t really decided on his plans after high school, he lists college as “being out there as an option” and he is seriously thinking about becoming a fire fighter.
The senior has a simple choice for his favorite foods.
“You just can’t beat home-cooking,” he said. “My mom (Stefanie Tomlinson) makes amazing baked beans and baked chicken. She adds several ingredients to the beans including jalapenos. Yes, I do love spicy foods.”
One thing that has made life tough on the Eagles is their district which includes the No. 1-ranked team (Carl Albert), No. 3 (Guthrie), No. 7 (Piedmont) and No. 8 (McGuinness). Ike has already played Carl Albert and McGuinness, losing both. Tonight the Eagles visit Piedmont in another tough matchup.
“We can’t control what district we are in, so we just have to keep getting better,” he said. “One good thing, by playing tough competition it is helping us improve. We just have to adapt to the situation we are facing in this district.”
So, what does the “Snake” think of Piedmont.,
“They will probably run about 90 percent of the time,” he said. “They also run the same offense (Flexbone) that Ardmore ran against us so we are prepared for them. They do have some big kids but I think we match up well with them because our defense is really athletic.”
While Johnson admits he’s not a “rah-rah” leader, he says Ike does have some players who fill that role.
“I’m not a real vocal leader because I think real leaders show by example and that’s what I try to do,” he added.
While the road trip to Piedmont will be no easy task, Johnson is upbeat.
“Absolutely, we have the talent to win,” he said. “This is the time to end the (district losing) streak.”