When H.D. Woodson last won the Turkey Bowl, in 2010, Warriors junior cornerback DuWayne Johnson was on the sideline watching his older brother Jerrard Hunter don the No. 5 jersey in a rout of Dunbar and his father, also named DuWayne, coach the secondary.
Johnson knew he would eventually wear the same number as his older brother in the Turkey Bowl, but he had no idea it would be this soon.
Johnson has three interceptions on the season, and two have come against Wilson. The other was in an 35-19 win on Oct 19.
“Most of the big-time people were guessing Wilson would beat us, a lot of people were doubting us,” Johnson said. “Several of the Wilson coaches coached me during Pop Warner too, so I was especially motivated for this one.”
The Woodson secondary had to make a slight change late in the first half when junior Malik Gant went down with a shoulder injury. The injury forced the Warriors coaching staff to move D’Andre Payne to safety for the rest of the game. Johnson and Payne grabbed the Warriors’ two interceptions on Thursday.
“We had to rotate Malik out and move Payne to safety,” the elder Johnson said. “D’Andre knows the defense the best of anybody. This is a team, so when someone goes down you have to step up and believe you can play that position.”
The soft-spoken Johnson has quickly become one of the most sought-after defensive backs in the country with offers from Georgia, Clemson, Washington, Virginia Tech and Miami.
After the season Johnson will head to San Antonio for the 2014 U.S. Army National Combine for 500 top juniors from across the country.
And with Payne headed to Tennessee in January, Johnson now become the leader in the secondary. He also wants to have a bigger role on offense as a senior.
Johnson said Payne has helped improve his technique, tackling and footwork in their time as the Warriors’ starting cornerbacks.
“I have to be more vocal. Right now I’m probably the quietest guy on the team,” Johnson said of his final prep season. “I’m going to try to lead by example and be more vocal next year.”
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