Callaway’s Johnson makes his choice
By Kevin Eckleberry
HOGANSVILLE – He was a part of so many special moments, and so many memorable games during his time as a Callaway Cavalier.
On the baseball diamond and on the football field, Dylan Johnson accomplished a great deal and was a part of some outstanding teams, including a few that flirted with state championships.
Now, Johnson is ready to create some memories on a different level.
Johnson is heading to the University of West Georgia on a baseball scholarship, and he made it official during a signing ceremony on Friday morning in the Callaway High gymnasium.
Also on Friday, Johnson’s teammate Josh Hanson announced his intention to play baseball at LaGrange College.
Johnson was joined by many of those closest to him, including friends, teammates in football and baseball, coaches, and family members.
The opportunity for his family members to come watch him play next spring was a big reason why Johnson decided to play close by at the Carrollton school.
“It was the location. It’s 45 minutes away,” Johnson said. “I think it makes it a lot easier for my grandparents to come and watch. And you know Tony (Williamson). He doesn’t want to miss any games. That just made that decision a lot easier with it being close to home.”
Johnson was an extremely accomplished player in football and baseball, and he had opportunities to play both sports in college.
While Johnson enjoyed playing football, baseball is his passion, and there was never any doubt that’s the sport he would choose.
“That’s what I’ve grown up loving,” Johnson said. “I played football and enjoyed it, but I couldn’t wait for baseball season to get here.”
Johnson has been a part of numerous other signing days, but Friday was obviously different since he was the man in the spotlight.
“It means a lot,” Johnson said. “Growing up playing baseball, you always want to play in college. It gets here, it’s kind of surreal. I’m just trying to slow it down and soak it in a little bit. Everything goes so fast. I’m excited to see what comes next.”
Johnson was a four-year starter in baseball, and he was a part of three region-championship teams, and he helped the Cavaliers win at least one playoff series in each of those years.
As a senior, Johnson hit .450 in the regular season, and he also won six games on the pitcher’s mound.
Johnson was also a key figure on the Callaway football team, and he was a starter the past three seasons.
Johnson’s signature moment as a Callaway athlete came in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs last fall.
The Cavaliers were trailing by five points with less than two minutes remaining, and they had the ball on their own 2-yard line.
Johnson led the Cavaliers on a 98-yard scoring drive that was capped by a 47-yard, fourth-down completion to Braylon Sanders for a touchdown.
“He’s got a never-give-up, never-quit attitude,” Callaway offensive coordinator Matt Napier said after that game. “No matter what goes wrong, it never phases him. No matter how hard he gets hit, if there’s a mistake he turns around like it didn’t happen.”
In baseball, Johnson moved right into the lineup as a freshman on a talented team in 2014.
That team won a region championship and advanced to the state quarterfinals before losing to Cartersville in Game 3.
The Cavaliers won another region title in 2015 and again reached the state quarterfinals, and the team finished second in the region last year and made it to the second round of the playoffs.
This year’s team went 23-10, captured a third region title in four years and made it to the second round of the Class AA playoffs.
In the two sports combined, Johnson won six region championships, and he was a part of teams that made it to the state semifinals twice and the quarterfinals twice, and teams he was on never failed to win at least one playoff series.
Johnson said being around his friends on the baseball and football teams has helped make the past four years particularly meaningful.
“They’ve been unforgettable,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t ask for more, couldn’t ask for better teammates.”
When he was introduced on Friday, Johnson said “I’d like to thank God for giving me the opportunity to play baseball at the next level.”
Johnson also thanked head baseball coach Dusty Hubbard, as well as his family, including his grandfather Tony Williamson, who has been a fixture at his games.
“I don’t think think anybody has been to more baseball games than that man over there at Callaway High,” Johnson said, pointing to Tony. “He’d get there before I was, and he’d leave after I leave.”
While the memories of what he accomplished at Callaway will always be there, Johnson is eager to find out what awaits.
“I’m excited to see what comes next,” Johnson said.
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