Size doesn’t matter to Central two-way starter Dylan Johnson
Dylan Johnson thought it was kind of funny.
When the Central High School junior found out he was starting on the offensive line last week, he smiled.
“It’s crazy,” Johnson said. “It’s different because everyone is bigger than me. That doesn’t really bother me. It’s just funny because they probably think they’re going to kill me.”
It is odd, seeing a 5-foot-9, 190-pound offensive guard sandwiched between two linemen over 6 feet tall and weighing more than 250 pounds, not to mention going against players that big or bigger.
Johnson lets opposing players laugh, though; he loves the challenge.
“When I started lifting weights I was smaller than everyone,” Johnson said. “I started lifting with the linemen because they are bigger. I was challenged by the weight they were doing.”
It’s one thing to play offensive line at his size, but Johnson also starts at linebacker and plays on special teams for the Warriors.
He’s in his second year as a starting linebacker.
“I like it because you are free to roll to where the ball is going,” Johnson said. “You’re not stuck to one (spot).”
He likes being the hunter, chasing down the ball carrier and hitting him.
“Every time you hit someone it’s the greatest feeling ever,” Johnson said. “Like everyone just watched it.”
It’s the same playing on the punt return team.
“It’s fun because you get an ear hole,” Johnson said. “Pick out a head and (hit) him.”
Although starting and playing offensive line was a surprise to Johnson, Central coach Vern McGee and his coaching staff had him in mind in case of an injury.
“We did notice he blocks very well in our drills (last year),” McGee said. “Coach (Chuck) Yost saw that, too. We had him play a couple JV games as an offensive lineman. He’s got really good form and a good motor.
“We knew he might have to (play offensive line). During two-a-days he’s worked offensive line. I’d rather have him with me (on defense) all day and being a one-way guy, but last week it didn’t affect him going against the big kids at the 5A schools.”
Johnson started playing on the offensive line two weeks ago when Ryan Rosendale went down with a knee injury. Rosendale could be out a while, possibly the season.
“When Ryan Rosendale got hurt (two weeks ago), he had to step in and play,” McGee said. “Coach (Yost) graded him the highest of all the linemen last week and our offensive line played much better last week.”
Johnson started at left guard for the first time on varsity last week against Hinkley and seemed to do just fine.
“I faced a guy 290 (last week),” Johnson said. “I just cut him every play. He was on the ground the whole game.”
Johnson will start on both sides again this week as Central (1-3) begins Southwestern Conference play against Fruita Monument (0-4) at 7 p.m. on Friday at Stocker Stadium.
Johnson knows it’s a challenge playing both ways in a large classification, where players usually play only one position.
“You have to really be conditioned and work hard at that every day,” he said.
“Otherwise you’ll play not great on both sides of the ball. That’s why normally people want to play on one side. If you want to play both ways, you have to be really conditioned.”