Barring a huge upset against Clearwater, Pinellas Park will be 7-0 for the time since 1983 after this week. The Patriots have done it with a stingy defense and a ground game led by senior Pierre Johnson, who has 715 yards and five touchdowns. Johnson, who picked up an offer from Air Force on Thursday, talked to the Times about the season and his plans for the future.
Your team is undefeated and has been rolling, but do you think it has the respect it deserves?
“I think we’ve been getting respect but we need much more. We work hard every day and just play one game at a time. But if we play well against East Lake (in two weeks) and then Countryside, we’ll get respect.”
Since it is your senior year, do you see this as your last chance to prove you can play?
“I’ve been waiting three years for this. I’ve been waiting to show everyone what I can do. But it’s not just me. We have so many other people who can run the ball. That’s what we do. You can’t be selfish and play for this team.”
So you don’t mind if you are not the featured back?
“Not at all. I think it’s better this way. It confuses teams when we play them because they don’t know who’s getting the ball. They can’t just focus on me.”
Have you been getting some interest from colleges?
“I’ve gotten some letters. I’ve heard from Northern Illinois, Liberty, Air Force, University of Pennsylvania and The Citadel.”
You are a 4.0 student, will academics factor into that decision?
“Definitely. I know I can’t play football forever.”
Are you as competitive with your academics as you are with football?
“Oh yes. I have an older brother and sister, and whenever report cards came out I would run to give it to my mom to see if I had better grades than them. I never lost. I have a little sister in middle school now and she’s very smart. I’ve got to keep working hard to beat her.”