When you account for nearly 500 yards total offense by yourself and your team wins, it's been a great night.
That's what Pine Bluff junior quarterback Claude Johnson (6-1, 195, 4.4) got to experience on Friday night as his Zebras downed Lake Hamilton by a mind-boggling score of 73-66.
Johnson was an efficient 18-for-22 passing for 366 yards and 6 touchdowns and also rushed 12 times for another 134 yards and a seventh score.
"That was a lot of fun and a very exciting game, most of all because we got the win," Johnson said. "I have never experienced anything like that but I give all the credit to our offensive line and our wide receivers and our special teams, who scored a couple of touchdowns."
Johnson, whose only offer so far is from Ole Miss although he has interest from Arkansas and several other major colleges, knew his team couldn't settle for field goals against a powerful Lake Hamilton squad.
His counterpart Phillip Butterfield - a Tulsa commit - threw for over 500 yards.
It was Johnson's 42-yard run for a score that made it 73-59 with 2:36 left and proved to be the winning points.
"We knew we had to score every time out because Phillip is a great quarterback and his team really has a great offense," Johnson said. "It's tough to do that, but our guys really came through."
Two of the Pine Bluff touchdowns came via long kickoff returns by Kelsey Collins, who also caught two touchdown passes.
"That ended up being the difference to me," Johnson said. "He did a great job on those returns."
Johnson has already thrown for more than 1,800 yards – 600 more than he did last season.
"I think the thing I am doing better this season is reading the defenses," Johnson said. "That has made me a much better quarterback and has helped a lot in our success."
The win moved Pine Bluff to 5-1 overall, 3-0 in 6A-South action with a game this weekend against visiting Texarkana.
It's quite a turnaround for a team that was just 2-7-1 last season with the two wins coming in the final two weeks of the campaign.
Those two wins ended a streak where the Zebras had only won one game in their past 20 contests.
"Our whole mindset has changed and we know we can go out and win every game if we play the way we are capable of," Johnson said. "We've got great players, great coaches and we've brought it all together."
Pine Bluff and El Dorado are tied atop the 6A-South standings with 3-0 marks with Lake Hamilton and Texarkana both 2-1.
The two current leaders are set to play at El Dorado Thursday night, Nov. 6 in the regular season finale.
"If we both keep winning that would be a showdown," Johnson said. "Our big goal is to make it to the state playoffs and win that championship."
Johnson is hoping he gets an offer from Arkansas and several other schools in the future.
"My first offer from Ole Miss made me feel great and it means all the hard work is paying off," Johnson said. "But I hope it is just the first of many offers from Arkansas a lot of offer teams. That's what I am going to keep working hard for."
He was at one of the Arkansas camps this summer and likes the Razorback staff. He wasn't surprised to see Bobby Petrino's first team upset Auburn on the road Saturday.
"He is a great coach and has really good scouting so I know they have got some talent up there now," Johnson said. "They are going to get used to his system as they go along and are going to be even better next year."
Johnson, who is also an outstanding baseball player, has plans to play both football and baseball in college.
There's also the major league draft that could factor into the equation.
"I definitely want to play both sports in college because I love baseball just like I love football," Johnson said. "That's what I am planning right now. The San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees have shown interest in me already, but that is just something I will deal with in the future if he does come up."
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