Ashburn, VA (September 1, 2015) – As a junior, Takiyul Johnson was a productive starter at linebacker for the 8-4, 2014 Briar Woods Falcons. With 37 tackles he placed sixth on the team in that category and was named Honorable Mention on the All-Conference team. The off-season presented Johnson with an opportunity to improve his game… or to take his game to the next level. He chose the latter.
Head Coach Charlie Pierce noticed Johnson’s efforts. “I was impressed with how hard he worked this winter,” said Pierce. “And it wasn’t just the physical effort. He took it on himself to help his teammates get better.” In short Johnson became a team leader and it was no surprise that his teammates voted him to be one of the five team captains for 2015.
Johnson comes into the season a little stronger, a little faster and a lot more confident. “I always worked hard at football,” he said. “This winter I worked harder.” He’ll add RB to his repertoire this year and is determined that playing both offense and defense will not cause him to take a down off on either side of the ball. “I trained for this. I can do it.”
At 5-11, 225 pounds he is a bruising runner. He has good speed to the hole, stays low, and delivers blows to would-be tacklers. Pierce will rotate other players into the RB position, but there are no plans for Johnson to miss a defensive snap. That’s fine with him. “I want to play football at the next level and that is going to be as a linebacker.”
Johnson spent a lot of time in the office season watching video of the great college linebackers in order to get some tips on technique. He also watched the high school work of Matt Rolin, a Briar Woods grad who will playing LB at the University of Florida this season. “I got a lot from watching Matt.”
Johnson’s “goal is to get into college and play football.” He has two offers currently on the table from the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and Fairmont State University in West Virginia. A Mississippi native, he’s holding out for his dream scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi where his father is an alum as well as a former linebacker. “I want to finish what my Dad started.”
What does he think about the 2015 Falcons? “We’re looking real good! We have the talent and the drive to make it to a state championship game.” Pierce of course, appreciates that attitude saying, “In football you have to have big goals or your team goes nowhere.”
The first two matchups of the 2015 season, both away games, will give Falcon fans a pretty good idea of how good this team could be. In week #1 the Falcons traveled to Tuscarora and met the 2014 state runner-ups, who beat the Falcons 42-0. The next week is an equally tough matchup with perennial 6A playoff team South County.
by George Khalsa
Special to Viva Loudoun