Spanish Fort, Ala.--For almost a full year the Spanish Fort Toros focused getting back to the state title game and winning after falling in the 6A quarterfinals in 2014. Led by quarterback Tyler Johnston and an impressive defensive performance Spanish Fort got the job done in a big way against previously unbeaten Clay-Chalkville to cap off a perfect 15-0 season on Friday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
While Tyler Johnston got much of the attention, and deservedly so for his MVP performance in the win, younger brother Thomas Johnston was also impressive in his own right as he teamed up with Auburn commitment Tre Threat to slow what had been an almost unstoppable offense the last two years.
Making plays all over the field and adding six tackles to bring his total to 130 for the season, Thomas Johnston said getting the title was the perfect end to his junior season.
“We knew going into last offseason that we had to learn how to finish,” Johnston said. “We have been good the last couple of years on finishing, but last year we came up short. That was our biggest thing this year was to finish.
“We knew they were going to be a challenge,” he added of Clay-Chalkville. “We were upset about the predictions and that got us ready to go. They had some freak athletes like Ty (Tyrell Pigrome). Either team could have won that game.”
Dislocating and breaking his thumb against Opelika in the quarterfinals, Thomas Johnston played the final two games of the year in a cast. He said despite the setback he felt like his junior season was another step in the right direction. Playing inside linebacker and also a good bit of safety at times for the Toros, he said there are plenty of positives for him to take out of 2015.
“I played okay,” Johnston said. “I need to get better and better finishing tackles. I think as a team we played great and we can continue to improve.”
Now up to 10 scholarship offers with Arkansas and LSU the latest to come onboard with Auburn and Alabama both showing a lot of interest, Thomas Johnston said UAB has also offered lately with his brother committing to play quarterback for the Blazers. That’s something that makes Coach Bill Clark’s team a strong contender early in the process, but there’s plenty more to think about, he said.
“They offered me about three weeks ago,” Thomas Johnston pointed out. “That’s always been a goal (to play college football with his brother). I can’t say I’m 100 percent into anybody right now because I’m still 100 percent open. It’s going to be hard to turn down an SEC opportunity, but if God has a plan for me to do something I’ll do it.”
Also a talented baseball player, he said that’s something that could absolutely come into play when he makes a decision sometime down the road. Right now it’s on to baseball prep for him with football and recruiting very much a present part of things for one of the top linebacker prospects in the country.
“I have that opportunity at UAB, South Alabama and Southern Miss to do both,” Thomas Johnston said. “Those are all options. I was supposed to go hit for LSU before the season but I never got to.”