Even when Gerard Johnson was an eighth-grader, Meadowbrook head coach Troy Taylor knew that the current senior quarterback would be a special player. The three-year varsity player gained the starting quarterback position as a sophomore and blossomed in his junior season, throwing for 1,299 yards and 16 touchdowns. He added another 500 yards on the ground with 10 more touchdowns, while leading the Monarchs to a 9-1 record.
Last week, he announced that he would be accepting a full scholarship offer from Old Dominion University to play football at the next level in 2013. Johnson chose ODU over James Madison, Delaware, Hampton and Richmond.
“ODU felt like a family when I visited the campus,” said Johnson. “I was very impressed with how the coaching staff presented the academic and football programs.”
Johnson has blossomed into a great leader and game manager and this allowed a historically run heavy Meadowbrook team to incorporate more into the pass attack last season. When Johnson got the starting job in 2010, now Virginia State red-shirt freshman Mico Phillips rushed for over 2,000 yards. With Phillips’ graduation, it was more of a running back by committee situation with Johnson providing an accurate arm, throwing just three interceptions all season long.
“He’s a master of our system,” said Taylor. “He understands what we are supposed to do, and he recognizes what teams are going to try to do to stop us.”
Despite finishing 9-1 last year, Meadowbrook missed the playoffs based off of a heartbreaking 21-14 home loss to Thomas Dale and district record. There is much left on the table to accomplish for Johnson, who led the Monarchs to a final state ranking of 18 according to www.maxpreps.com.
“Our goal this season is to win every game and go undefeated,” Johnson stated. “If we do our job and win every game, we won’t have to worry about how other teams perform to make the postseason.”
According to Taylor and teammates, Johnson has developed into a great leader, on the field and in the classroom, where he sports a 3.2 GPA. On the field, he’s become more vocal in orchestrating the success of the offense and pushing his teammates in the weight room.
“The team has really been pushing themselves this off-season,” said Johnson. “I felt like our workouts weren’t as difficult the past couple off-seasons so I wanted the guys to step it up and push themselves to get better.”
Johnson’s college decision comes just weeks before the season and school starts. The Monarchs started practice this past Monday and Johnson is focused on the task at hand.
“Knowing where I’m going to college takes a lot of pressure off the table,” Johnson said. “Now I can focus on school and the upcoming season.”
Proud father Curtis Johnson applauds his son for his disciplined approach towards school and reaching his goal of playing college football.
“We are extremely proud of Gerard,” said Johnson. “This has been one of his goals his entire life to play at the next level,” he continued. “We were thoroughly impressed with Old Dominion University.”
The Monarchs season kicks off on Thursday, August 30, on the road at Manchester before their first home game on September 7 against a tough Highland Springs team.
Three weeks later, district season starts with a home contest vs. Hopewell on September 28.
In the coming weeks, the Village News will preview Meadowbrook and our other area teams, Thomas Dale, Matoaca and L.C. Bird as the Village News gears up for football season once again.