Westminster grad helps Blue Jays roll into playoffs
By By Jake Rill and Times Staff Writer
Nov 17, 2014 at 10:51 PM
Like all athletes, Dan Johnson doesn't like losing.
But the difference with Johnson is, he doesn't often lose either.
Johnson was a standout two-way player at Westminster High School, helping the Owls complete a perfect 10-0 regular season in 2012. Then, he went to Johns Hopkins in 2013 and was a part of the Blue Jays' 10-0 season in which they won a Centennial Conference championship.
On Saturday, Johnson won his 31st regular-season game in a row, playing a big role on defense and special teams in Hopkins' 48-17 win over McDaniel to help the Jays finish off another perfect 10-0 year.
"It's just a lot of fun, being dominant and the culture of being on a winning team," Johnson said. "It's awesome."
Against the Green Terror on Saturday, Johnson not only played on special teams, as he typically does, but also saw time at strong safety in the second half. Johnson recorded six tackles, including one for a loss, and recorded his first career interception.
The interception came in the final seconds of Saturday's game, as McDaniel quarterback Matty Callahan threw a pass toward the left sidelines. Johnson made a diving grab and came up with the pick.
"That was pretty special, especially against McDaniel, being three minutes away from McDaniel growing up and everything," Johnson said. "It was a lot of fun, just glad I can contribute, and we're just looking forward to the playoffs now."
The Blue Jays host Rowan on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship tournament.
So far this season, Johnson has served as a key contributor on special teams. He finished the regular season with 25 tackles and a forced fumble.
In Johnson's freshman campaign last season, he collected 10 tackles in eight games and added a forced fumble. It was a role that Johnson wasn't too familiar with. He played running back and safety while at Westminster, earning Times first-team offense and second-team defense honors in 2011 and first-team defense and second-team offense honors in 2012.
But when Johnson arrived at Hopkins, he knew he may have to play special teams early in his career, a role he has taken on happily.
"Our defense is real solid, every one's a great player, so wherever I can contribute, I contribute and time will come for playing defense," Johnson said. "Whatever they need, I'm here to do."
It was Johnson's versatility that impressed Johns Hopkins coach Jim Margraff. The longtime Blue Jays coach was glad to see Johnson play a big role in Saturday's conference championship-clinching win, and expects to see him make even more of an impact in the next two years.
"He's a terrific athlete," At Westminster, he was impressive both offensively and defensively there. We brought him in and he's been tremendous on special teams and been working his way onto the field in a lot of different ways. It was great to see the interception at the end. He's a guy we're going to depend on in the future."