West’s Johnson preparing for larger role in 2021 season

Tison Johnson is looking to step up for the Morristown West football team in 2021 as a leader and with production on the field.

Johnson was a bright spot for the Trojans in 2020. He played snaps on both sides of the ball as well as special teams in his sophomore season as West ended last season on a seven-game losing streak, including a forfeit loss to Hardin Valley due to COVID protocols.

The wide receiver/defensive back broke out in his sophomore season. He had 11 receptions, including five for 40+ yards in a loss to Farragut. He was also used as a running back behind 1,000-yard rusher Hunter Delaney in West’s ground-heavy offense. Johnson ran for 133 yards on 26 carries in his sophomore campaign.

Defensively, Johnson was one of the Trojans’ most reliable defensive backs in 2020. He recorded 27 tackles and led the team with nine pass deflections.

Johnson is sure to be a major piece of the Trojans in 2021. Going into his junior year, he will see his touches increase on offense and more will be asked of him on defense as he molds into a leader of the team.

The on-field talent speaks for itself, and West will involve Johnson a lot this season.

“You’ve got to find a way to get the football in his hands. You’ve got to find a way to put him in position defensively to make plays, because he is a playmaker,” West’s head coach Alvin Sanders said.

This offseason has been beneficial for West’s team as a whole.

“Last year, we didn’t get to do anything because of COVID. We’ve learned a lot of new things this year,” Johnson said.

The Trojans have been able to participate in 7-on-7s and do more as a unit to prepare for the season.

West has a lot of players that do not have much experience at the varsity level. Johnson is looking to improve his game while making the team better in any way he can.

“I’m trying to get more mentally strong and physically strong, and finding ways to make my team better,” he said.

Taking nearly every snap on both sides of the ball is a tall task, and Johnson is preparing for that. Being a leader for the team goes hand in hand. Sanders has seen growth from Johnson this offseason.

“Tison is a young man that has a lot of expectations for himself,” “ Sanders said. “He puts pressure on himself to be great and he is learning to hold himself to that standard. Johnson started playing varsity as a freshman, so the team can benefit from his experience”

Becoming an outspoken leader is a privilege, but Johnson is taking the right steps to do so. Sanders and the other coaches are not trying to force anything for him.

“Tison is doing a great job of being himself,” Sanders said. “It’s kind of natural for him. As coaches, we just try to stand back and get out of his way.”

His role on the team is already important and it will only increase as the season begins. West’s first game of the 2021 season is August 20 in the Citizen Tribune’s Kickoff Classic against Morristown East.