View Full Version : Riding High | Darryl Johnson's Story

04-30-2013, 03:36 PM
ôLet me tell you something, we need to forget about all this god damn quarterback call! All you need to know is that Gerard Wicks is the next big thing! I've done seen this kid play since he was about eight years old and he's the truth! Best running back I've seen around here since Hershel was here. Now listen, we got a good defense with Price and Brown and you know coach Lara --"

John leaned in and turned the radio off, tired of hearing callers talk about us.

"Don't you got Section 80 in here?" asked David as he looked through my CD booklet.

"It's in the radio," replied Jayon as he pressed the eject button, before pushing the CD back in.

"Gather around....I'm glad everybody came out tonight...."

"Don't y'all ever get tired of Kendrick?" complained John as he buried his head back into his cell phone.

"You really don't care that they're badmouthing you on the radio D.J.?"

"Not really," I shrugged, "We're a run first team and I don't have have any game time. I don't expect them to say anything good about me,"

"Fuck that D.J. You're dad was a big time ballplayer at Poly, everyone knows you're brother was putting in mad work back in the days with Vaughn and you completed every pass in the spring game. It's about damn time people gave you some respect,"

"I'm a two year clip holder and I can't even beat out two damn underclassmen for the job"

"Bruh, believe me when I tell you this, you're going to start. Coach might start out with two or three quarterbacks, but you're sure as hell beating out Tai and my money is you against E.J.," said Jayon as he dapped me up.

I wish I had the same confidence that Jay had in me. I had been on Varsity for the past two years and had yet to even touch the field. Even when we were blowing out teams out, coach would look straight past me and grab the next available signal caller.

It didn't bother me much to be honest. When we won the Section Championship and I rocked the championship shirt and the hat, people around the town didn't know I was just recording the plays being called in that game. They just knew I was on the championship team and a Long Beach Poly player.

I wish I could say the same for my father. Seeing me on the sidelines, just following coach with my pen and clipboard, it irked him in every imaginable way. At first he tried to hide it, realizing that I was just a sophomore and lucky to be on varsity. As the year went on and I became a junior and it was still the same song, and he let his frustration show. Whether it was confronting coach in the parking lot or yelling at me from the bleachers during practice, he let the world know that his son wasn't going to be a backup forever.

I wasn't sure if I was going to be half the player he or my brother J.J. were. They had the drive, the will. I wasn't sure if I had it. I think coach saw that too. Pops and J.J. viewed the game as more then just a game, something that they honored respected. To me, it was just a game that was fun sometimes. I once told my brother that I didn't think I loved football. He simply smiled and told me that I loved football, and I just didn't know it yet.

04-30-2013, 07:54 PM
good start here. I like what im reading....and welcome to TGT

05-12-2013, 07:09 PM
“Blue 88! Blue 88! Check! Black Lightning! Black Lightning! Set.....HUT!"

I received the snap and took half a step to the right before dashing to the left. I placed my hands on Manu's back as I followed him to the outside, careful to keep Gerald within arms length as I read the defense. I could see David lick his chops as he headed straight towards me. One of the linebackers filled and took out Manu, leaving David with a clean shot straight to my ribs. I baited him just seconds until David lunged at me, pitching the ball right to Gerald as David laid on top of me.

"Good read," said coach as he tapped me on the helmet, "let's go Ringo 62 Y Shallow,"

I walked back into the huddle with a little bit of confidence, fixing the sleeve on my right arm. Summer camp was just getting started and with me recording the plays called for the past three years, I definitely had an edge over Tai. Coach Laura loved to call a variety of plays from different formations and with us adding even more spread into the playbook, we ran a complex offense that might be too much for a sophomore to handle, even as talented at Tai.

"Ringo 62 X Shallow on set, Ringo 62 X shallow on set, ready...BREAK!"

I surveyed the defense, adjusting my visor as the defense reacted to our set. I looked over at John, who was lined up to my right across from David. He discretely winked at me right before I got into my cadence.

"Black 22! Black 22! Set!"

I received the snap and immediately locked my eyes to our Y receiver, senior Thomas Tucker, as he ran his shallow pattern across the field. Thomas' route attracted all the linebackers as they fixed in on him, so did the two deep safeties as they stopped back pedaling and we're ready to break on the route. I threw a convincing pump fake, crashing in the linebackers, before popping back up, settling my feet and throwing the deep post to John. He discretely used his right hand to create some separation between him and David before jumping up and snatching the ball with his left hand. He carried the ball with one hand as he stiffed arm David with the other en route to the endzone.

"Hell of a grab Price! Take a breather Johnson, get your ass in here Tai!" hollered coach Laura.

I jogged off the field, joining the rest of the team on the sidelines. I took my helmet off as I grabbed a water bottle from the Gatorade six-pack. I poured some over my head, trying to offset the effect of the California sun. It was in the mid 90s and rising, even with the possibility of reaching tripe digits. California weather was no joke and the extra weight of pads didn't make it any better.

"You lucky you pitched that ball," said Jayon as he joined me on the sidelines, "I was coming down hard and boy let me tell you, if David missed that tackle and you didn't pitch the ball, you'd be halfway to Memorial by now,"

I chuckled at his comment, "I would of just given you the Heisman like my boy just put on David,"

"That was pass interference and you know it," he quickly rebutted, "at any rate, what's up with all the spread stuff this year?"

"You tell me, I haven't been under center since forever," I shrugged as Tai once again took of running without allowing his blocks to materialize.

"Here is what I think. I think coach knows that you've got an hell of an arm and he's got the best damn receiver in the country. I mean yeah, Manu and Wicks are gonna get theirs but they can catch the ball too," said Jayon as he put his helmet back on and got ready to go back on the field, "This is going to be your year D.J., our year,"


"I'm going for a thousand," said John as he pulled into my driveway, "the Parkers got visitors, that's a surprise,"

My eyes shifted to the Parker's driveway, where there was an extra car in the parking spots blasting hip hop. It looked like it belonged more in Inglewood then in suburbia Long Beach. Someone sat in the driver seat, his arms hanging out the window while holding a cigarette.

John and I shrugged as I got out the car. I dapped him up before dragging my exhausted body to the front door. I opened the door to the smell of barbecued chicken and J.J. blaring his music from the backyard.

"What the hell's going on back there?" I asked Pops as I threw my bag into the living room corner.

"J.J., excuse me, Deuces, has a couple of his friends in the back," he replied as he seasoned some ribs over the stove, "they're planning his welcome back party,"

"He's going to have a welcome back party?" I asked, puzzled by the fact.

"My same reaction too. Who in the world is gonna celebrate coming back from college without a degree? Tell me, who? Now he is back here with no degree and back to working at my joint," he replied with a bit of irritation in his voice, "how come you didn't invite John in?"

"Some recruiter is supposed to be calling him," I replied, taking a peak into the patio to see what J.J. had going on.

"Is that right? How come you ain't getting calls?," he asked, cutting me off before I could even answer him, "That's because you ain't even touch the field yet,"

I ignored his remark and went to my room. I took a quick shower and changed before going out back to see what J.J. was up to.

"Yo that's my D.J.!" yelled J.J. as he wrapped his arms around me, "this right here, this the next big thing boys,"

"You stink J.J.," I joked as I dapped up the rest of his friends.

"It's Deuces! Deuces! Anyway, see the boys and I are throwing a little party by Pops joint, think you can get us some fine bitches?"

"Ain't all of you like grown and you still tripping over high school girls?"

"Can you bring them or not?" asked one of his boys, a former Poly player.

"I can ask them, why?"

"It's going to be the hottest party of the year," said Deuces with a lot of confidence, "everyone is talking about, 'damn, school about to start' and then boom, here comes Deuces. I want everybody to be there. I'm coming back with a bang,"

"The fuck you going to do after that?" I asked him as I took a seat, "Pops gonna be tripping if all you do is sit around and bullshit,"

"Don't worry about me, worry about bringing some fine ass bitches to the party on Friday. Make sure you get that girl that lives next door too,"

"Hell, yeah," agreed one of his boys.

"Which girl you talking about?"

"The one I saw coming in today. The cute ass mamasita at the Parkers house. She reminded me of them strippers by River City! I'm talking about that fat ass that can balance a cup, you ever seen that shit?"

"Well maybe if you had spent less time worrying about shit like that, you'd still be playing ball," I shot back, intrigued by the new girl on the block he was mentioning.

"I get that shit from dad all the time, I don't need it from you little man,"