Monday, June 8, 2009

Catholic's "Stick" will stick it to them

He’s so skinny his Charlotte Catholic teammates call him “Stick.”

It’s understandable; Nick “Stick” Johnson is at most 5-foot-9 and about 130 pounds, according to Catholic coach Jim Oddo.

And yet last year, Johnson—not yet on the varsity and a rising junior now—simply loved playing on the scout team, which mimics the plays of that week’s opponent to give the starters an idea of what to expect.

The scout team players, basically, are tackling dummies, running routes and making blocks and getting hammered by the big boys. Except Stick didn’t play it that way.

“He’s a tough little cuss,” Oddo said. “He flies in there and he’s tackling guys in the backfield and breaking tackles when the scout team has the ball, and basically ticking the starters off.

“So they’d get all hacked off at him and hammer him good, and he’d just get up and do it again.”

Oddo recalled watching Stick play rugby.

“I don’t know much about that sport, but other guys would keep the ball a few seconds and get rid of it. Stick would get it and run north to south, loving the contact."

We’re not talking about a star or a sleeper here; just a hard-working kid who loves football and makes his teammates better.

“He won’t be a starter this year, but he’ll get a lot of playing time,” Oddo said. “We won’t be able to keep him off the field.” --Stan Olson

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