WAYNE — Wayne's Louden Johnson shrugs off the game he put together last week in a 46-12 football win over Minco.
“I kind of got lucky last week,” Johnson said. “It's more of a team thing. The ball's just came my way, and this is really one of the best lines we've had in awhile. They're really, really getting after it.”
Luck played a part — especially on his two defensive touchdowns — but the junior still put together a memorable performance. Johnson scored on interception and fumble returns on defense; he ran for a pair of touchdowns on offense despite having his carries reduced dramatically due to an injury that necessitated a temporary position switch.
Johnson earned The Oklahoman's Player of the Week honors for his performance, which also included a two-point conversion run.
“Those two defensive touchdowns really set the tone,” Bulldogs coach Brandon Sharp said. “He didn't have to carry the ball very much, but he ran the ball really hard when he did.”
It took Johnson just two plays to find the end zone.
On Minco's first drive, cornerback Ryan Welch deflected the ball into the air on a pass, and Johnson took it 30 yards for a score.
“As soon as he swatted it, I caught it in stride and just kept going,” Johnson said.
Then, with Wayne leading 20-0 late in the first quarter, Minco was threatening.
A Nathan Bruehl hit on a Minco ball carrier popped the ball free, and Johnson was once again in the right place at the right time.
He returned the fumble 93 yards for a touchdown to put the defending Class A champions up 27-0.
“We really didn't have to look back from there,” Sharp said.
Johnson also scored on a first-quarter 8-yard run and a 13-yard run in the third as Wayne avenged, once again, its lone loss from a season ago.
Johnson, who was expected to take over for graduated Josh Way as the Bulldogs primary tailback this year, played fullback due to an injury to their starter there.
He had about 12 carries, but Sharp hopes Johnson's carries will double soon.
The Bulldogs came back to beat Minco in the third round of the playoffs.
Still, beating Minco meant plenty for Johnson and his teammates.
“I'd never beaten Minco in the regular season,” Johnson said. “They're still pretty good and all week in practice, the coaches kept reminding us that if we didn't focus, they were going to beat us.”
If anything, Johnson sees a sharpened focus in the team coming off last season's championship.
“In all honesty, I don't know how any of us could go back to not playing deep in the playoffs,” Johnson said. “We've got so much community support and really a bunch of pressure on us. Every time we walk in anywhere around here, people ask about the team.
“Sometimes you get tired in games and you have to have a little extra motivation. That's what it is for us. I don't know how we could go back in somewhere around here knowing we lost. We don't want to let those people down.”