Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Football: Johnson leads Pilot Point to emotional victory in semis
STEPHENVILLE -- Whether they were caused by the stiff wind that cut across the field or the emotional fallout from the death of his father earlier in the week, tears had formed in the eyes of Jarman Johnson in the immediate aftermath of Pilot Point's 35-14 victory over Brady in the Class 2A Division I state semifinals.
As friends and teammates rushed to embrace Pilot Point's star running back on Saturday, Johnson's mind seemed elsewhere. It was as if he had just been transported to a different place.
"Good job, Jarman," one woman said.
Johnson nodded, acknowledging what seemed, on this day, to be an understatement. That's because Johnson's performance wasn't just good; it was marvelous. Johnson rushed for 238 yards on 24 carries and scored three touchdowns -- the last of which came on a breathtaking 65-yard run in the third quarter that gave Pilot Point a 28-14 lead but more importantly squashed Brady's attempt at a comeback.
Johnson derived his motivation from something pure, simple and totally unrelated to anything that took place at Tarleton State's Memorial Stadium.
He was driven by love -- love for the man who brought him into the world, love for his dad, love for Henry Davis, who succumbed to cancer on Sunday.
"Before he died, he told me, 'Go win state,'" Johnson said. "I was doing everything for my father."
Now, Pilot Point is one step away from taking the title because Johnson, "the rock" of the offense as head coach Blake Feldt called him, stood strong.
"What can you say about that guy?" Feldt said. "He loves to win. He is the leader of our football team."
The senior slot back exerted his influence immediately. He scored his team's first two touchdowns -- one on a clever 66-yard run, the other on a nifty 22-yard dash -- and helped push Pilot Point to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. And when Brady had stolen the momentum after scoring 14 consecutive points, Johnson was there to wrest it right back.
"They couldn't stop us today," he said.
More specifically, Brady couldn't stop Johnson, a player carrying a heavy heart and one dying wish.
Pilot Point 35, Brady 14
Brady 0 7 7 0 -- 14
Pilot Point 21 0 7 7 -- 35
PP -- Jarman Johnson 66 run (Ruben Martinez kick)
PP -- Johnson 22 run (Martinez kick)
PP -- Gareth Gengenbach 32 pass from Seth Tilley (Martinez kick)
B -- MacKenzie Hirt 1 run (Xander Leatherwood)
B -- Hirt 1 run (Leatherwood kick)
PP -- Johnson 65 run (Martinez kick)
PP -- Austin Balderas 19 pass from Tilley (Martinez kick)
First downs 16 15
Rushes-yards 46-185 30-249
Passing yards 138 105
Total yards 323 354
Passes 13-21-0 10-12-0
Punts-avg 2-34.0 3-39.0
Penalties-yards 1-5 4-57
Fumbles-lost 2-2 1-0
Rushing: Brady - Seth Bozeman 6-14, Andrew Brooks 4-29, MacKenzie Hirt 22-76, Jake Long 11-48, Jose Ramirez 3-18. PP - Jarman Johnson 24-238, Seth Tilley 6-11.
Passing: Brady - MacKenzie Hirt 13-21-0-138. PP - Seth Tilley 10-12-0-105.
Receiving: Brady - Kyle Andrews 4-65, Seth Bozeman 1-13, Jake Long 2-11, Jose Ramirez 1-13, Toby Sopher 5-36. PP - Austin Balderas 2-26, Aaron Buckingham 2-17, Gareth Gengenbach 2-39, Jarman Johnson 1-12, Colin Noe 2-3, J.P. Price 1-8.