PAHOKEE – Archie Johnson has had a senior season to remember.
The Pahokee 2017 cornerback (5-10, 160) played in 18 games and won all of them, including the spring game, kickoff classic, and two All-Star games. No other player in Palm Beach County can make Johnson’s 18-0 technical accomplishment.
Emphasis is placed on technical because a team’s spring game and kickoff classic, as well as a player’s all-star game appearance, don’t officially count. And with the FHSAA’s decision today (Jan. 16) to strip Pahokee of its 14-0 final record and Class 1A state championship – reportedly due to an ineligible player on the team – a case can be made against Johnson’s 18 wins.
Regardless of what happened, Johnson stands proud and resolute in what he achieved on the field these past several months.
“It’s a dream come true,” Johnson said. “I always wanted to get that feeling of being the big dog. I wanted to finish my senior year with a state championship & end the Muck Bowl (losing) streak. My team did just that. It’s a dream turned into reality, and there ain’t no better feeling than that.”
Johnson’s final high school football game came this past Saturday (Jan. 14 at John I. Leonard) in the LRISF All-Star Game, where he helped the National team score a 24-17 comeback win over the American team. He recorded 4 tackles and 2 pass breakups, one of which was a touchdown-saving deflection on a pass intended for American wide receiver Siurpry Rinvil (Glades Central).
“On the play against Siurpry, I knew it was coming,” Johnson said. “I did my best to prevent the jump ball.”
Johnson also appeared in the Florida vs. Georgia All-Star Game a little more than two weeks ago, when he helped Team Florida secure a 22-14 win over Team Georgia at Atlantic High School in Delray Beach on Dec. 31, 2016.
“I’m just blessed to be selected,” Johnson said. “It’s something I wanted to get the experience of. I enjoyed it all.”
Archie Johnson Sr., who is the father of Johnson Jr., marveled at how his son was able to go out on top like that.
“He always wanted to play with a football, and that let me know I would be able to watch him play,” Johnson Sr. said. “From the neighborhood on to the city league where it all began (Pahokee Baby Blue Devils), going 8-0 at the junior varsity level as a quarterback his sophomore year, changing positions at the varsity level and going 8-3 as a junior and then to have an undefeated record as a senior, that’s just big for him. I’m as proud as any father could be right now, and I’m hoping he can go to the next level and compete to be great there.”
Johnson Jr., who finished his senior season with 29 tackles (9 touchdown-saving tackles), 10 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, and 1 interception, has one offer from Glenville State. He was recruited by defensive backs coach Rashad Jackson, a Pahokee native who played for Glades Central in his high school football heyday and Marshall on the college football level.
“He can help me progress in life big time,” Johnson Jr. said of Jackson.
If Johnson Jr. doesn’t get another college football offer prior to National Signing Day (Wednesday, Feb. 1), then he’ll likely pledge his verbal commitment to Glenville State. The Pahokee product would like to make his final decision on or sometime before Feb. 1.
Regardless of what transpires, Johnson Sr. is happy about his son’s college football prospects.
“I’m as proud as any father could be right now,” Johnson Sr. said of his son, who celebrates his 18th birthday today (Jan. 16). “I’m just hoping he can go to the next level and compete to be great there.”