Title Run Comes Up Just Short For Johnson

Auburn football signee Jeremy Johnson talks about the loss to Sparkman in the 6A semi-finals and about turning his attention to football once again.

Birmingham, Ala.—Auburn quarterback signee Jeremy Johnson had high hopes for his senior season at Carver High in Montgomery. After winning the state championship in basketball as a junior with the Wolverines, Johnson set his sights on the double this season as he was hoping to take home titles in both football and basketball.

After losing in the semi-finals to Opelika in football, Johnson was hoping to accomplish at least one of his goals as he led the #1 Wolverines into the semi-finals Thursday at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Coliseum, but Carver ran into a Sparkman team that played well from start to finish in a 79-68 overtime victory. Led by sophomore sensation guard Lamonte Turner, Sparkman advances to face Mountain Brook in the Class 6A finals while Johnson and his teammates again come up just short of a championship.

"It's tough again for the second time to lose in the semi-finals," Johnson says. "God has plans for everything. They came out and shot the ball well. They couldn't miss and there wasn't much we could do. We fought back and pushed it to overtime, but they hit the big three to start the overtime to seal the deal."

Jeremy Johnson lays in two of his 22 points on 10-22 shooting.

Forced to sit out part of the first quarter and all of the second after picking up two early questionable offensive fouls, Johnson could only sit and watch as Turner led Sparkman to a 32-24 halftime lead. Things began to turn around in the second half as Johnson buried a three from the wing and sparked a comeback for the Wolverines. Climbing back into the game, Carver had the ball down two with just a few seconds remaining when Johnson put back a miss just before the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

Johnson Tip In

The comeback took too much out of Carver however as Jason Russell banked in a three from the wing and Turner buried three of his game-high 27 points to put this one out of reach. Following the win Turner tweeted that he got an offer from Tony Barbee and the Auburn Tigers, joining early offers from Mercer, Jacksonville, and Kennesaw State for the talented guard.

As for Johnson he says the first half really set the tone for the game.

"It was really tough," Johnson says. "I put my team in a difficult situation on both sides, offense and defense. It was tough, but it happened last year. I got a technical for dunking the ball and I had to sit out the second half, but we had Craig (Mississippi State guard Craig Sword) so it wasn't as big of a deal. This time around we just didn't have that leadership on the court to get us going in the second quarter."

Johnson will now turn his attention back to football as he prepares to head to Auburn this summer and begin competing for the starting quarterback spot. With the Tigers having just two scholarship quarterbacks on campus for the spring the job could still be wide open and Johnson plans to give it his best shot.

"Now I'll take a week and a half off and I'll be back in the weight room and back outside running and throwing," Johnson says. "I'll be trying to get myself ready for college.

"I'm going to make it over to the spring game," he adds. "I want to see how everything is going and see how Coach (Gus) Malzahn is doing down there. I'm looking forward to it."

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