December 1, 2009

Johnson leading Rummel's playoff charge

Carvin Johnson is one of two current Michigan commitments still enjoying his high school football career. The 6-0, 185-pound prospect has been instrumental in leading a standout defense that has propelled Archbishop Rummel to the Louisiana state semifinals …

The Raiders improved to 13-0 with a 24-7 victory over Hahnville Nov. 27, booking Rummel's fifth trip to the state semis and the fourth in head coach Jay Roth's 15 seasons. However, Roth's teams have never advanced to the finals, losing one game too early in 2001, 2002 and 2006. This time around, he's hoping Johnson can lead to a berth in the Class 5A championship Dec. 12.

"All year, we've been winning with defense," Roth said. "We give up 8.0 points per game, which is critical because we only average 18.0 points offensively. Carvin has been the man for us all year, but he's really raised his game in the playoffs and that's what great players do - they step up in the big games.

"He's been a difference-maker defensively and on special teams, and we've been using him more on offense too, sometimes just as a decoy because he'll attract two defenders to his side of the field, pull that safety out of the box and give us a chance to run the football."

In the win over Hahnville, the Raiders rushed for 236 yards, thanks in large part to deploying Johnson at wide receiver. But the Metairie, La., native rarely factors into the game plan, recording just five receptions this season.

Defensively, he's amassed 74 tackles, including two sacks, while forcing a fumble, breaking up three passes and recording seven interceptions. He's also been a key special teams' performer, returning 26 punts for 358 yards (13.8 yards per return) and two touchdowns.

"Carvin is a very competitive kid and he plays with a seriousness on the field that the truly great players have," Roth said. "Two weeks ago, he muffed a punt and he came to the sideline and he just kept telling the coaches and his teammates that he promised he'd make up for it. You could see this determination in his eyes, and on the next punt, he catches it cleanly, breaks seven tackles and goes 67 yards for a touchdown. It was unbelievable."

Top-ranked Rummel will see No. 21 seed Westgate (8-4) this Friday with a berth in the state finals awaiting the winner.

"They've had a much different run compared to us," Roth said. "They started slowly, with a tough schedule, but once they hit the playoffs, they just got rolling. They're an athletic team, with a very skilled quarterback, so we have to do a great job defensively minimizing their big plays. And obviously, it'd be great if we could score more."

Johnson hasn't been used much offensively, but he could have a breakout performance this weekend. The talented prospect is still waiting to earn a star ranking, but Roth said there should be no doubt about the young man's ability.

"I believe in college coaches recruiting kids - not recruiting services," he said. "If a coach wants to know about my kid, he needs to do his homework, come down here, sit in my office and watch film or request it. He shouldn't just jump on Rivals.com and watch the film there and make a decision. They're asking these young men to make a huge commitment and I think, in turn, they need to make that same commitment to my players.

"But Carvin is a stud. When the word was out he committed to Michigan, my phone started ringing off the hook from the schools down here, but I told them it's too late.

"Carvin's told everyone that's tried to call that he's done. He's committed to Michigan."


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