In today's animal kingdom review of soon to be Boilermakers domination of the high school ranks, I'm taking a look at a mongoose quick slot receiver dispatching viperous tacklers for the 4th ranked team in Tennessee.
Nate Johnson (WR - Independence High School - Thompson's Station, TN)
Nate "Mongoose (just Goose to close friends and relatives)(Disclaimer: I make up all nicknames, and I have no idea of his friends or relatives call him Goose, but if they don't, they should probably start)" Johnson strikes fear in the hearts of his rivals. Any small crease provided by the defense is lustily converted into a touchdown by the elusive Johnson. When defenders think they have him lined up for a big hit, they end up face down on the turf, holding nothing but their wounded pride.
8/21: Independence 47 Brentwood 17 - Brentwood's goal in this game was to contain Nate Johnson, and they failed miserably. To be fair, containing Johnson is almost impossible, so maybe attempting to contain him is just a bad game plan. Regardless, Brentwood spent most of the night checking out the back of Johnson's jersey as he sprinted to the end zone with minimal impedance. Johnson collected 12 receptions for 166 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brentwood also made the crucial mistake of punting the ball to Goose. They only made the mistake once, but it cost them 88 yards and 7 points, as Johnson made quick work of the kick coverage. To all of my loyal Tennessee high school coach readers....don't kick the ball to Goose.
8/28: Independence 49 Centennial 6 - After eviscerating Brentwood in the first week, Goose was able to sit back and let his teammates handle his light work against an overmatched Centennial squad. Goose Johnson wants to fight cobras not garden snakes, so I wouldn't read too much into his 1 reception for 10 yards performance. Oh, and Centennial did make the mistake of punting to Johnson twice. He only picked up 2 yards on his first return, but ripped off a 30 yard return on his second attempt (note: I may have the order mixed up).
9/4: Independence 35 Lincoln County 14 - Lincoln County did their homework, and refused to kick the ball to Nate Johnson, unfortunately, they couldn't stop him from catching the ball. Johnson put up an absurd 206 yards and 2 touchdowns only 5 receptions. For all of you non-mathletes reading this piece, that's an average of 41.2 yards a catch. I mean, come on Goose, that's just not fair. I know it's not your fault that you're impossible to tackle, but come on man.
9/11: Independence 21 Smyrna 7 - Smyrna took a page out of Lincoln County's game plan, and did their best to limit Nate's touches. They were effective in limiting his touches, but it only took 3 receptions for Goose to put up 63 yards and a touchdown, for a robust 21 yards a reception. Smyrna was able to limit Johnson's kick returns. He only had one kick return opportunity and was limited to 27 yards and had 2 punt return opportunities for 37 yards (including a 33 yard return).
9/18: Independence 49 Summit 12 - Once again, Summit was able to limit Nate's touches, and once again, it didn't matter. Goose was limited to 4 receptions, but managed to turn those 4 receptions into 125 yards and a touchdown. You see, once Nate gets the ball in his hands, it's all over. You may as well just not try and tackle him and save yourself the trouble. He is faster and quicker than anyone else on the field. Summit was able to limit his kick returns, kicking away from him on kickoffs (he didn't have a return this game) and directional kicking on punts, limiting Johnson to 1 return for 2 yards. That's what Johnson does for your kick return game. He makes the other team concede free field position in an attempt to keep the ball out of his hands.
Ok guys, you've seriously got to check out Nate's Senior Highlights. They are absurd. I know I'm not supposed to be positive about Purdue football, but this kid might actually be pretty good.