Will Johnson allowed himself a brief celebratory moment after grabbing his first varsity interception in the first half against host Fauquier on Sept. 3. He flexed and accepted congratulations from his teammates. Then it was time to move on. He had more work to do.
The junior safety ended up with two more interceptions for the night as the Tigers turned in another dominating defensive performance with a 23-8 victory that improved their record to 2-0.
“It was his first one so he was excited,” Brentsville head coach Loren White said of the interception. “But then he locked back in.”
Johnson prefers a low-key approach anyway. It fits his quiet personality. But on the football field, Johnson makes his presence known in a variety of ways. It’s why White calls Johnson “Mr. Do It All.” Johnson contributes wherever needed. In addition to the three interceptions, he also tallied six tackles against Fauquier and caught two passes for 9 yards.
With an experienced group in place, he rotated in at outside linebacker before starting more near the end of last season.
White moved Johnson to the secondary this year to take advantage of his speed and toughness. He can keep up with wide receivers on the outside, while holding firm when taking on blocks.
Johnson’s wrestling background helps him stand up against bigger linemen. He reached states as a freshman at 126 pounds and finished in the top three in the region as a sophomore at 145 pounds (only the top two finishers in each weight class advanced to states due to the compressed schedule caused by the pandemic). Johnson plans to wrestle at 170 pounds this season.
Based on his 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame, Johnson feels more comfortable as a defensive back. He fits in well with the other three members who are playing together for the first time: senior safety Bryce Jackson, who transferred from Patriot, and junior cornerbacks Luca Orlando (Colgan transfer) and Jackson Schnetzler.
“They all make us better,” Johnson said. “You don’t have to worry about who is where.”
Johnson feels the same way about Brentsville’s defense upfront. He credits his three-interception performance to the intense pressure the Tigers applied to Fauquier.
“We had an excellent game plan,” Johnson said. “The coaches put us in the right positions.”