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Johns chalks up big stats in victory at Clinton

Brookhaven quarterback Jimmy Johns enjoyed an outstanding gameagainst the Clinton Arrows. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound senioraccounted for 396 yards total offense, leading the Panthers to a21-18 victory.

For his performance, Johns is The DAILY LEADER’s OffensivePlayer of the Week for the third week of the 2004 campaign. Hecompleted 16 of 20 passes for 249 yards and 1 touchdown. He rushed24 times for 147 yards and a TD.

Johns said the award required a team effort. “Everybody onoffense got involved. This was the debut of our offensiveline.”

Senior offensive guard Tyler Gatlin had missed the first twogames of the season due to an ankle injury. He was joined up frontfor the Clinton game by left guard Aaron Moore, left tackle ZachRay, right tackle Kody Smith, center Grant McDonnieal and tight endMichael Thrasher.

“I’m blessed to have those kind of players blocking for me,”said Johns. “That’s a lot of beef,” he grinned.

Wide receivers Bud Chatman and Brandt Hinton also had big gamesagainst Clinton. Chatman caught 9 passes for 159 yards and Hintonhad 5 receptions for 66 yards, both career highs.

“I’ve got two 6-5 receivers and a 6-3 tight end,” said Johns.”They make me look good. I’ve got a real fast running back in RonnyMcNulty.”

Johns looked like a major college prospect against Clinton. Aweek earlier, he had rode the bench the first half againstVicksburg. He helped the Panthers overcome a 13-0 halftime deficitbut they lost 19-13 in overtime as Johns completed 4 of 15 passesfor 29 yards and rushed 8 times for 18 yards.

“I felt like I had let the team down,” Johns admitted. recallingthe disciplinary action for bringing a cell phone to school. “Iwanted to show everybody that I could do better and do right.

“I should have left by cell phone at home,” said Johns. “Nomatter who you are, everybody has to follow the rules.”

Brookhaven head coach Tucker Peavey said Johns played wellagainst Clinton. “Jimmy did what he had to do and needed to do, tolet his teammates help him. He distributed the ball around to a lotof different people. He used the guys up front to help him in therunning game.”

Peavey said Johns has a knowledge of the game and that makes hima better player. “Jimmy knows what we are trying to do on offense.He understands defense and knows where we want to go with the ball.He’s a physically strong football player.”

Brookhaven’s offense appeared to be firing on all pistonsagainst Clinton. “We did a good job of throwing and catching,” saidPeavey. “Protection was better. Jimmy could move around where heneeded to be.

Johns ran most of the offensive plays out of the shotgunformation. That helped him see the Clinton defense from a betterangle.

“Out of the shotgun, some of things we had in the plan are a lotbetter,” said Peavey.

Johns believes the Panthers will continue to improve as theyplunge deeper into the season. They are the defending Region 6-4Achampions. A Jackson newspaper poll ranked the Panthers No. 1 inMississippi. They were ranked fourth in the Associated Press PrepPoll before losing to Vicksburg.

“We started our train rolling against Clinton,” said Johns.”From now on we’ll be the kind of team people are looking for. Wehave to work more on putting it (football) in the end zone.”

Johns is looking forward to playing college football. He’sscored an 18 on the ACT to qualify him for freshman eligibility.He’s narrowed his list of choices to either Auburn or MississippiState.

In the classroom, Johns said he enjoys English IV best. Hisfavorite teacher is Thomas Ann Gatlin. “She helped me prepare forthe ACT.”

In his spare time, Johns enjoys hanging out with his friends.”We like to hit the Mc (McDonald’s),” where his favorite meal is atwo double cheeseburgers, an order of fries and a Hi-C orangedrink.

The son of Charles and Patricia Butler, has two older sisters,Tonya and LaToya. He has an older brother, Johnny, and a16-year-old younger, Trevis.

“My family really supports me and I appreciate that,” saidJohns. “They attend Cool Springs Missionary Baptist Church inFranklin County.

“It makes me feel good to be Player of the Week,” said Johns. AClass 4A state champion in the 110-meter hurdles and the discus,Johns is looking forward to competing on the new track at BHS inthe spring of 2005.

Right now, he’s busy preparing for Friday night’s game againstWingfield. It will be played at Forest Hill High School in southJackson, starting at 7 p.m.