A new face is leading the Yellow Jacket offense this season, and his name is Keenen Johnson.
As a sophomore on varsity last season, he was the backup quarterback. One year later, he now finds himself as the starter.
“I feel prepared for the season. I feel like I'm ready to lead the team,” said Johnson. “I feel very comfortable in this role. I've played it since I was in 7th grade.”
“Keenan is doing a really good job. He obviously has some big shoes to fill, but Keenen's done a great job,” said head coach Paul Gould. “He's done everything we've asked him to do so far. He has a good grasp of the offense.”
Alto is also asking a lot out of senior Jyran Shaw, who has to fill in the shoes left by Jacolby Whitaker.
The former running back finished his career at Alto as one of the top all-time rushers in the state with more than 6,700 rushing yards. Whitaker was also a first-team All-State selection.
There's no better way to fill in those shoes than being mentored by the guy who once wore them, which is exactly what Shawn has been doing as Jacolby's back up the last few years.
“I kind of looked up to Whitaker. He was a big role model for me. All through the years when he was in high school, he was helping me because he knew I had his position by senior year,” said Shawn. “I feel like I'm taking the position pretty well and stepping up to the plate.”
The Alto coaches agree that Shawn has made his own presence on the team since Whitaker's exit.
“Shawn's falling right into the position and doing a great job,” said Gould. “He's a great leader, he's a senior, he's energetic, and when he gets to bouncing around, everybody starts bouncing around. He's doing a great job and I'm looking for big things out of him.”
While there are some wrinkles they are working to smooth out, the team says the transition looks to have a promising ending in Alto.
“There's obviously going to be some bumps along the road, but the transition has been pretty good so far,” said Gould.
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