Dorsey football head coach Stafon Johnson played football for Dorsey and USC (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

“There is no place like home,” said Stafon Johnson just before his first game as head football coach for the Dorsey High Dons vs. the Santa Monica Vikings. Johnson was a phenom at the running back position for the Dons 2004-2006, earning a full scholarship to USC and playing for the Trojans throughout his college career.

Dorsey head coach, Stafon Johnson before his debut game at Jackie Robinson Stadium vs. the Santa Monica Vikings. (photo E. Mesiyah McGinnis)

Even as a Tiny Might player in Pop Warner, Johnson was lauded as one of the best backs in the conference as a nine-year-old for the LA Sheriffs.  He continued the great legacy of Dorsey running backs such as Lamont Warren, Beno Bryant, and Karim Abdul-Jabbar just to name a few, and was a workhorse, playing both offense and defense. “I gave my all for the City of L.A. since I was a child and city has always poured their love right back,” he said.

Dorsey Dons defensive team and coaches (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Johnson felt that same love when he walked onto the Jackie Robinson Stadium field with his coaches and players.  He said he felt a burst of energy from the people who have always been there for him, his supportive parents, family, friends, and the Los Angeles community as a whole.  “I’m grateful that the Dorsey administrators believed in me. I want the kids feel that experience, to have L.A. behind you. I tried running from this for years; yet, I had to realize who else will understand and know the pulse of the city and how to make an impact?”

#6 Semaj Dunn catches a TD pass from quarterback, Josh Coleman as Dorsey battles the Santa Monica Vikings. (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

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 As a first-time head coach, Johnson reached out to David Williams, a former Dorsey track and football coach, and former head coach for Carson Colts, where his team won the city championship in 1993.  “When Stafon called and asked for my help, I immediately said yes. As a first-time head coach, he needs mentoring and experienced assistants. Being a varsity head coach is a demanding job, and resurrecting our program has been especially challenging during this pandemic. Stafon is bright and energetic, and all of us share his vision of returning Dorsey to its championship tradition. We want the entire Crenshaw community to take pride in the team we’re putting on the field every Friday night. We’re teaching our young men to proudly represent something bigger than themselves, and we’re helping them to become exemplary young men both on and off the field,” said Williams.
Dorsey head coach, Stafon Johnson (middle) huddles up with the Dons football team and offensive coordinator,  coach David Williams prepares for the second half during their game against the Santa Monica Vikings. (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

On the sidelines, Johnson said he felt a surreal, epic moment of comfort and happiness. “I didn’t want to leave; I knew that the kids could make history.”   According the Johnson, beating Santa Monica 14-0 made it the first team win in the months of August and September since 2016.  He joked, “I kept thinking, ‘I can’t lose my debut.’”   When asked what his goals are for the season, he responded, “Our goal is the buy in, change the view and culture one game at a time.”

The Dons defeated the Santa Monica Vikings 14-0 and look forward to a bright season. (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Dorsey next plays at Narbonne High on Thursday, September 2, at 7 p.m.