BHS quarterback keeps improving

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Sophomore Jimmy Johns becomes better with age. Brookhaven’syoung quarterback is improving in each game, learning the newsystem and a new offense under BHS head coach Tucker Peavey.

In his latest outing, Johns passed for 200 yards and 3touchdowns. He also rushed for 50 yards, giving him 250 yards totaloffense.

For his accomplishments, Johns has been selected The DailyLeader’s Offensive Player of the Week for the 10th week of the2002 football campaign. He will pilot the Panthers (5-4, 4-2)against East Central at Hurley Friday night in the opening round ofthe Class 4A state playoffs.

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“We came out excited and played hard,” said Johns, recalling histeam’s 41-22 comeback victory over Lawrence County last Fridaynight. The win secured third place in the Region 6-4A race as Johnscompleted 8 of 11 passes, throwing touchdown strikes to TareanJones for 59 yards, Darius Perkins for 17 yards and Josh Patrickfor 14 yards.

“My offensive line did a great job,” said Johns, smiling aboutthe memory. “My receivers did an excellent job catching thefootball. Darius did a good job running,” as Perkins accounted for102 yards on the ground and 3 touchdowns.

Johns said his starting offensive line includes Grant McDonniealat center, Tyler Gatlin at left tackle, Adam Ogden at left guard,Kenneth Fairman at right guard, James Barker at right tackle andMichael Thrasher at tight end.

“We came out and executed and played hard,” said Johns.

His favorite play is the 15-14 Naked. “It’s a pass-run option,”explained Johns. “I look for a receiver. It’s really a passing playfirst but if it’s open, I can run.”

Johns (6-2, 210) made several bone-rattling runs againstLawrence County, running over defenders. He is strong and fast. Hebench presses 225 pounds and squats with 350. He runs the 40-yarddash in 4.8.

“Jimmy is learning to be a quarterback,” said Peavey. “It’s nota quick process. He’s learning more about the offense and where heshould fit into it. He’s learning and getting better everygame.

“He still has a fullback mentality,” Peavey continued. “I’mtrying to teach him to learn how to slide,” and avoid direct hitsfrom defensive players.

Johns has passed for 1,039 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.He’s been intercepted 12 times in the learning process. His topreceiver is sophomore Bud Chatman who has caught 26 passes for 592yards and 6 TDs.

“I’ve been practicing more on my accuracy and staying in thepocket,” said Johns. “I still have a lot of improving to do. Thecoaches stay late working with me.”

Ryan Ross, Brookhaven’s offensive coordinator, is a former BHSquarterback and recognizes the potential Johns has in his future.”Jimmy has improved each week with his decision making. He’slearned how to prepare for other defenses by watching film. He isplaying well in big games.”

Johns said he has learned a lot from Ross and Peavey. “It hasbeen an honor to play for Coach Peavey. With him coming off thecollege level, he tells us to keep our heads in the books so we canqualify,” to be eligible as college freshmen.

Johns took the ACT last week for the first time, giving him ataste of what is required to gain eligibility in college. Hisfavorite high school courses are science and English.

Asked about Brookhaven’s chances in the state playoffs, Johnssaid, “I feel like we have a wonderful chance to go all the way.We’ve got to beat East Central first. Our offense and defense areplaying well.”

A standout athlete, Johns was chosen MVP on the BHS track teamas a freshman. He throws the shot put and discus in the fieldevents. He also runs the high and low hurdles.

Johns gives credit to his older sister, Tonya, for inspiration.She was a standout softball player at BHS and Copiah-LincolnCommunity College, also playing soccer.

“She inspires me a lot,” said Johns. “I wear the same number asher.”

Johns said his parents, Patricia and Charles Butler, alsoencourage him. “They push me to play sports.” He enjoys throwingthe football with his younger brother, 13-year-old Travis.

A state winner in the Gatorade Punt, Pass & Kick competitionin Jackson, Johns hopes to qualify for a a region berth in theSuperdome later this year.

In his spare time, Johns likes to follow Ole Miss and Oklahoma.His favorite NFL teams are San Francisco and Denver. His favoriteNFL payers are Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre and Kansas Cityrunning back Preise Holmes.