Trib HS Insider Q&A: West Shamokin's Matt Johns
West Shamokin junior Matt Johns has made a relatively seamless transition back into football, a sport he last played in eighth grade.
A 5-foot-8, 160-pound two-way starter at defensive back and running back, Johns gained 146 yards on 35 carries through six weeks. He rushed for a season-high 48 yards and scored twice on eight carries in the 25-6 win over Riverview in Week 3 that snapped West Shamokin's 46-game losing streak.
Q: What brought you back to football?
A: The low (participation) numbers, and I just missed it. I wanted it back. It's fun. I like the family feeling of the football team.
Q: How difficult was it to come back? Did you feel rusty?
A: Yeah, I kind of do. It's a big jump from seventh and eighth grade football to the varsity level. It's a big jump in atmosphere and how people play. It's just more complicated.
Q: What was the toughest part about the transition?
A: It's more complicated and more complex. You've got to think more on the run. You don't just go to the same spot. You can change the play on the go a little bit.
Q: Why did you initially stop playing?
A: I kind of just wanted a break. I played so many sports, and I didn't have time for anything else. I kind of missed having free time. But then after I got away from the sport, I wanted it back. So it was kind of a mistake. If I could go back now, I'd play the whole way through, and it'd be much better.
Q: You've done well despite your inexperience. Are you surprised by your performance?
A: Yeah, I didn't expect it to come that easily and to get that much into the offense and play that much just because I skipped so many years.
Q: What was it like for you, as a new guy on the team, to experience the win that ended the losing streak?
A: I kind of felt like they (teammates) deserved it a little more than me. They put in so many years of effort more than I did, taking those losses. I mean, it was still exciting to be there with them and have that enjoyment. But it definitely seemed like they deserved it more than I did.
Q: What's one sport you wish you could play that just doesn't go well for you?
A: Probably baseball. It just looks like something that'd be fun to do. It's kind of a nice, relaxed pace to the game instead of go, go, go.
Q: What's the least natural part of baseball for you?
A: All of it. It just wasn't there for me — I couldn't catch, I couldn't throw.