What a difference a year makes. Last year, Stephen Johnson was the little known backup quarterback from College of the Desert, and now, he’s the (presumed) starting quarterback with seven wins — including one over his team’s archrival — under his belt. Johnson’s transformation from backup to hero is the stuff of legend, and today, he reflected on his remarkable journey.
“It’s been crazy,” Johnson said of the past year. “It’s been crazy just going through the whole thing. I can’t describe it as anything but divine, as to how it all came about. I’m happy with how it’s gone; I’m happy with how it’s going.”
Even though it’s pretty much a given that Johnson will be the starter this fall, he said he can’t afford to let up in camp or the dream will be over.
“I can’t let up now. Have to keep competing every day to keep the spot that I have.”
Johnson says he’s shared that attitude with his teammates heading into his senior season.
“Absolutely. We know that we could have done a lot better than we did last year, won a few more games than we did. So, everybody knows that. Everyone wants to get better and push forward from here.”
Johnson’s incredible rise last season did not go unnoticed, and while some players would let the fame go to their heads, he used it as a platform to share his message with others. Johnson suffered from Tourette’s syndrome as a child, but overcame the disorder through his faith and sports. He’s made the rounds in Lexington and beyond sharing his story, which he says means more to him than anything.
“It means a lot, hearing back from people that are going through the same things that I went through growing up. For me to share my story and help out, that means a tremendous amount.”
Known for his calm demeanor, it’s hard to get Johnson to show any emotion, but he admitted he’s taking time to enjoy every minute of his senior season.
“It’s wild. It’s wild. Just like I was telling other people, I’m just trying to enjoy it. It’s my last one. Taking as many pictures as I can, being out here with the guys and enjoying it before we go out to practice later on today.”
What will that senior season include?
“As many wins as we can get. We can do a whole lot of great things here.”