A Compton assistant coach called him the “Million Dollar Player.”
That might be high praise for a football stud, but senior Deon Johnson is just that.
He does whatever is needed for the Tarbabes, including a masterful performance in Compton’s 24-21 victory over Walnut in the Division 12 quarterfinals on Friday.
Compton is at Tahquitz in the semifinals next Friday.
His statline: 17 carries for 128 yards, two touchdowns, 2 two-point conversions, and one receiving touchdown.
“I put the team on my back,” Johnson said.
While it wasn’t a touchdown, perhaps Johnson’s biggest play of the night was a 28-yard run on 3rd down near midfield with under four minutes remaining in the game.
“We grinded and got all we can handle,” Compton coach Calvin Bryant said. “It was the battle of double wings tonight.”
There weren’t a lot of flashy plays, instead smash mouth rushing attacks with runs of three or four yards to move the chains.
“We knew it was going to be this kind of game,” Bryant said. “We played solid defense and limited the big plays.”
Walnut (8-4) took a 7-0 lead on a Ruben Rivera 33-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter and maintained the lead until Compton’s Erick Barrios connected with Johnson for a five-yard touchdown pass with 11:54 remaining in the half. Johnson ran it in for the two-point conversion and Compton (6-5) took a 8-7 lead.
The score would remain the same until early in the fourth when Johnson scored on a 9-yard run.
“Tonight was not all the same (runs),” Johnson said. “We took what we could get.”
Rivera would respond with a 2-yard touchdown run of his own with a little over seven minutes remaining in the game but a bobbled PAT cut the deficit to three.
After his 28-yard run, Johnson would score again on a one-yard run with two minutes left but Walnut scored on a 19-yard pass from Salvador Quintanilla to Florenico Muro.
Compton recovered the onside kick, securing its first semifinals berth since 1979.
“I need to rest my throat,” Bryant said. “I am excited for the journey to continue.”