An onside kick, Ford's 36-yard reception and 5-yard touchdown run with 11 seconds remaining gave Cypress Ranch an incredible come-from-behind victory, during which the future Sooner accounted for 278 total yards and two touchdowns.
“Keith is an exceptional player,” Johnson said. “He's a very hard, physical running back, and also has the ability to make people miss.
“He's a hard worker ... I do think he's gotten better throughout his career here because of that hard work.”
The Mustangs' storybook season came to an end the next week, when they lost to OU defensive end commitment Matt Dimon and eventual champion Katy.
Following the season, Ford returned a kickoff 64 yards in the Under Armour All-America game, and shot up 65 spots to No. 48 in Rivals' final 2013 player rankings. He is Oklahoma's only 2013 commitment in the Rivals100 rankings.
“I'm sure those rankings are nice and flattering,” Johnson said. “But that's far from why Keith plays.”
Last week, OU running backs coach Cale Gundy visited Cypress Ranch to watch Ford play basketball. After the visit, Gundy called Cody Thomas, Oklahoma's 2013 quarterback commitment from Colleyville Heritage.
“He said he looked a little odd out there with his thick neck and everything,” Thomas remembered with a laugh. “He said he didn't look like a basketball player, but said he was unbelievably athletic.
“I've watched all his highlight tapes and everything. I can see him doing huge things for us.”