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Johnson gains success on field; copes with death of grandmother

Tailback Derrick Johnson is enjoying a season of success on thefootball field for the Loyd Star Hornets. Off the field, Johnson isdealing with the recent death of his grandmother, DorothyHenderson.

Johnson rushed for 195 yards and three touchdowns in last Fridaynight’s 35-20 comeback victory over Seminary. It was just threedays after his grandmother had passed away.

“Derrick always talked about how his grandmother encouraged himto play,” said Loyd Star coach Anthony Hart. “She told me Derrickshould get out there and make something of himself.”

Johnson (6-0, 170) has been selected The Daily Leader’sOffensive Player of the Week for the fifth week of the 2001season.

Dealing with the death of loved ones has become a familiarexperience for the Loyd Star senior. Johnson’s mother, MaryJohnson, passed away two years ago. His step-father, Daniel Reese,passed away two weeks ago, suffering a fatal heart attack.

Johnson (6-0, 170), has put some big numbers on the boardthis season, helping lead Loyd Star to a 4-1 record. He has rushedfor nearly 550 yards and scored nine touchdowns. He had a careergame against Franklin County three weeks ago, rushing 28 times for208 yards and three touchdowns in a comeback victory.

Against Franklin County, Johnson scored his 3 TDs in thethird quarter, going 24, 5 and 50 yards. He scored on runs of 39,15 and 6 yards versus Seminary.

“Derrick is a hard runner,” said Hart. “He is quick and he’sa good down-hill runner.” Johnson runs a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash.Johnson squats with 350 pounds and benches 215.

Johnson is quick to share credit with his offensiveline.

The Loyd Star offensive line includes Daniel Sisco at strongtackle, Cody Covington at strong guard, Unqurie Smith at center,Kevin Reed at quick guard, Matt Sanders at quick tackle and LoganPortrey at tight end. Fullback Adam Speeg works as blocking backfor Johnson.

“The 34 was working and so was the 32 Pitch,” said Johnson.”When I get the ball, I’m looking for a good block from myfullback. My linemen will make me a hole. They were blocking goodFriday night.”

Loyd Star has won four straight games since a season-openingloss to powerhouse Bay Springs. The Hornets are aiming for a Region6-2A championship and another trip to the state playoffs.

Against Seminary, Loyd Star fumbled four times and thehosts’ points came off turnovers. “We played a good ball game,”said Hart.

Loyd Star senior quarterback Seth Britt didn’t play thefirst half due to a shoulder injury. Johnson rushed the football 18times against Seminary.

Johnson said he would like to play college football. “I wantto play for Co-Lin.”

“Our team is getting better every week,” said Johnson.”We’ll be even better when playoff time starts.”

He enjoys watching Mississippi State and Ole Miss ontelevision. He likes the Minnesota Vikings and wide receiver RandyMoss. Johnson’s favorite running back is Eddie George of theTennessee Titans.

This Friday night the Hornets travel to Utica to play theHinds AHS Bulldogs. “I’m going to do my very best,” saidJohnson.