Callaway lineman settles right in
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
He’s fitting right in.
Tate Johnson grew up in Troup County, but he and his family moved to Indiana before his seventh-grade year.
This summer, the Johnsons moved back to the area, and Tate enrolled at Callaway High for his junior year.
Johnson was a standout offensive lineman at his previous school, so when he became a student at Callaway, he made the obvious decision to join the football team.
Often there can be a bit of awkwardness when a newcomer walks into a locker room filled with players who have known each other for years, but that wasn’t the case for Johnson.
“When I grew up here, I played recreation football and recreation baseball with the Hogansville organization,” Johnson said. “So it wasn’t really coming back into a new environment. I came back to a place where I had known everyone, and everyone knows me. So they accepted me right away. It was an easy adjustment.”
Johnson joined a veteran and talented offensive line that already included two players, Keiondre Jones and Keshawn Cameron, who had numerous offers from big-time college programs, as well as another senior in Adrian Porter who has excelled at center this season.
Along with those three seniors, Johnson and fellow junior Austin Thomas team up to create a strong offensive line.
“I played with these boys growing up,” Johnson said. “It’s awesome to get to play on an offensive line with great players.”
Last week in the regular-season finale against Jordan, Johnson got to see two of his teammates on the offensive line score touchdowns.
In the first quarter, Jones and Cameron both had touchdown runs.
Jones, a future Auburn Tiger, took a direct snap and scored on a 4-yard scoring run.
Later in the quarter, Cameron took a handoff from quarterback Demetrius Coleman and had a 4-yard touchdown run of his own.
“That was awesome,” Johnson said. “They deserve it. KJ and Keshawn, they go hard every day in practice, and they bust their butts for the team. To see them get to score is awesome.”
Like Jones and Cameron, Johnson has no shortage of college offers, and the list figures to grow since he’s only a junior.
For now, Johnson is focused on trying to help the Cavaliers keep their season alive for a while.
Callaway, which doesn’t have a game this week, is preparing for next week’s state-playoff opener.
Callaway lost a chance to finish as Region 5-AA’s top seed when it lost to Heard County, but the players have put it behind them and are focused on the task at hand.
“We lost to Heard County. There’s nothing we can do about that,” Johnson said. “All we’re doing it taking it one game at a time. We can’t worry about anything else. We feel like we’re one of the top teams in AA, so we’ve got to have the mindset that no one can stop us.”