Right place, right time

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Straughn outside linebacker Johnny Owens recorded 11 tackles and had one fumble recovery in the Tigers’ 21-7 win over Trinity. Shown here, Owens reacts after recovering the fumble. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn’s Johnny Owens was at the right place at the right time.

The junior middle outside linebacker and his performance in recovering a fumble and recorded 11 tackles in the Tigers’ 21-7 second-round victory over Trinity Presbyterian last week earned him The Star-News’ Player of the Week honors.

Trinity’s Allen Wood fumbled a hand off, and Owens took over, scooping the ball in his hands and getting the crowd into a frenzy.

Owens said there wasn’t really anything special about how he played during the win, crediting his teammates who gave him the opportunity to play at a high caliber.

“I just played my hardest,” he said. “My teammates helped me a lot. They helped me make plays.”

Owens, at 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, leads the Tigers in tackles with 108. Fellow teammate and senior Dillan Conner has the second-most with 94.

The junior was a part of a collective defensive effort that held Wood to 17-of-27 for 135 yards in passing, and the Wildcats to 186 total yards of offense.

Owens said it was a group effort on the defense’s part, but added that the crowd helped out a lot, too.

“They kept us in it,” he said. “We were pumped the whole game. We were just getting after it.”

In fact, what may have gotten the crowd started took place the night before as Owens’ dad, Manuel, led the home-crowd in a cheer for the Tigers.

Owens has played football since he was six years old. He started as a tinymite in Straughn’s youth football league.

He said he loves the contact part of the sport, and that it wasn’t until his sophomore year that he “really got the hang of things on defense,” noting how offensive plays develop.

Straughn travels to face Midfield in the quarterfinals of the playoffs on Friday night.

The Patriots have an elusive quarterback in Courtney Foy, “a slippery player” if he’s ever seen one, SHS head football coach Trent Taylor said.

Owens said MHS is athletic, and it’s going to take the defense’s best effort to win.

“I think we’ll be successful,” he said.

When asked whether there is any pressure going into this game, Owens said there was a little, but quickly added that the team isn’t looking too far ahead.

“I think we just need to focus on one week at a time, not think about what may be ahead,” he said.

In fact, if the Tigers win this week, they’ll make it to the semifinals, the farthest the school has gone in the post season.

Owens is the son of Manuel and Sherri Owens of the Straughn Community.

Honorable mention went to Conner, who added 13 tackles for SHS in the win.