Stafon Johnson, arguably the Greatest Of All Time among the Dorsey former football stars, will be return to his alma mater to coach running backs this season.(Facebook Photo)
The treasured Dorsey High School football programs have not won a city championship since 2001 and their last victory over neighborhood rival Crenshaw happened in 2011.
For a program that has produced more than 30 NFL players and over 150 collegiate performers, the standard for the Dorsey Dons has not and will not change under veteran head coach Paul Knox.
After finishing 7-5 last season and losing twice to Crenshaw, including in the second round of the city playoffs, Dorsey will return 8 starters from that team; but, their most celebrated return will be a guy whose eligibility has long expired.
Stafon Johnson is arguably the most decorated Dorsey Don ever. He ran for an all-time school record of 5,777 yards and 58 touchdowns in three seasons that place him among the top running backs in Southern California football history.
While his story-book high school career did not duplicate itself when he went on to USC and the NFL, Johnson’s return to Dorsey as running back coach is the most inspirational moment the Dons have had in quite some time.
“I’m going to be coaching,” Johnson said whole attending a recent comedy concert at the Forum in Inglewood. “I’ll be coaching at Dorsey,” he repeated.
For Johnson to be alive is remarkable.
A tragic and near fatal weight lifting incident during his senior year at USC on September 28, 2009, almost killed him. A 275-pound barbell dropped on his throat, crushing his neck and caused him to be rushed to the hospital.
Miraculously, Johnson survived, sued USC, the assistant trainer and the other parties settled before a trial was held.
He fully recovered from the incident and played for two NFL teams the Tennessee Titians and Washington Redskins before other injuries forced him to retire.
“He wants to give back to the program and community and the fact that he’s making that commitment says what he is all about and what we stand for here at Dorsey High School,” said Knox.
Knox will begin his 30th season at the helm when the Dons kick-off in September.
He will be counting on highly recruited senior safety Sadique Hayward (6’3, 190 pounds) to anchor the defense that will be the strength of the team.
Hayward runs a 4.6 forty-yard dash and is being recruited by most Pac 12 schools including USC and UCLA.
The second team All Coliseum League performer will be joined on that unit by line backer Clinton Hewitt (6’1, 175 pounds) who also earned second team all league honors, and safety Rayce Williams (6’1, 175 pounds).
Offensively, junior two-way lineman Nahje Flowers (6’3, 245 pounds) who is being wooed by UCLA, Washington, Utah and Oklahoma State will be a force to be reckoned with.
“We expect to contend for a league championship and then hopefully make some noise in the playoffs,” said Knox.
Just like the good old days when he had Johnson dashing from the backfield and into the end zone for touchdowns.