Freshman kicker has been consistent all season
from John Dell/Winston-Salem Journal at www.journalnow.com:
As Winston-Salem State gears up for the postseason, one area that will likely come under increased scrutiny is the role of special teams.
That’s where freshman punter Will Johnson(High Point Central High School) hopes to continue his solid play.
Because the Rams (9-1) have blown out most of their CIAA opponents, some fans probably don’t even know who Johnson is. The Rams, ranked No. 11 in the Division II poll, will take on the 25th-ranked Virginia State Trojans (9-1) Saturday at Bowman Gray Stadium in the CIAA championship game.
“I’ve been more comfortable as the season has gone on,” said Johnson, who is a graduate of High Point Central. “I’ve grown more confident as the games have come, so that’s helped me in my punting.”
Johnson, who is averaging 35.5 yards a punt, has punted the fewest times (33) of any regular punter in the CIAA; there have been times when he’s only punted once or twice in a game.
Johnson had one of his best games in Saturday’s 28-14 win over Fayetteville State, with three punts for an average of 39.7.
Johnson is also the team’s place-kicker on field goal attempts, but he’s officially attempted only one field goal all season — even though he has actually attempted two. In a win over Shaw two weeks ago, he made a 37-yard field goal; Shaw was penalized on the play and Coach Connell Maynor elected to accept the penalty and take the points off the board.
The Rams didn’t score a touchdown after that — but Johnson understood the decision.
“I thought about that because (Maynor) wanted to get a touchdown and I don’t blame him because it was right near the end of the first half,” Johnson said. “It was just an offensive penalty that stopped the drive and the half ended but I don’t blame him for taking the points off because our offense is so explosive. I’ll get more opportunities.”
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