The first time the football touched Jaylan Johnson’s hands on Friday night, he took it across the pylon.
It wasn’t just the first time Johnson touched the ball in Friday’s Jackson Bowl against Brownstown Central in Blevins Stadium, but it was the first time Johnson has touched the ball all season.
The Seymour sophomore was sidelined through the first five games after fracturing his right fibula one week before the season started during a scrimmage with Silver Creek.
“I was heartbroken, I’m not going to lie,” Johnson said.
He spent the last six weeks recovering, hoping to get back on the field with his teammates. The rehab wasn’t always easy either.
“It was hard,” he said. “A lot of rough moments, but as soon as I got back, I knew I would make an impact and help team.”
Johnson did just that.
He spent the entire first quarter playing primarily defense, coming up with a tackle on Brownstown’s first offensive possession. The usual two-way player was easing into his role with the Owls after being out for six weeks.
But once the second quarter started, Johnson was lined up out wide and his impact was felt immediately. With 10:50 left in the second quarter, Bret Perry found Johnson on a short route that he turned upfield for a 26-yard touchdown, giving the Owls an early 7-0 lead.
“I saw open grass,” Johnson said on his score. “I knew it was going to happen. I was ready for it. I can’t put it into words.”
Johnson wound up with seven total tackles on the night. He had six unassisted and one assisted.
That side of the ball was where he played most of the game, but he was also out there on Seymour’s final possession of the game in which the Owls scored the game-winning touchdown to win 28-24.
Johnson was the biggest critic of his own game when reflecting on his performance.
“It was rough, but I’m definitely going to come back next week and do a lot better,” he said.
Seymour has called themselves the “Cardiac Kids” for some of the fourth-quarter comebacks the Owls have had this season.
Johnson was on the sideline when the Owls came back to beat Jeffersonville and scored at the last second to beat Floyd Central. But this Friday night, he got to be on the field as his team marched down the field in the final two minutes to win the game.
Exciting and scary were two words Johnson used when describing the Owls’ knack for waiting until the game’s final moments to decide the outcome.
But after being heartbroken on Aug. 12 when he fractured his fibula, Johnson was all smiles after the Owls defeated the Braves for the first time in three years.
“It was great,” Johnson said. “I really loved it.”
As far as how the sophomore feels health-wise after being out on the field for the first time this season?
“I feel amazing,” Johnson said. “I feel good.”
Johnson will get to play his first game at Bulleit Stadium next Friday against Jennings County.