by Aram Tolegian
West Covina quarterback George Johnson has significantly less fanfare than Glendora star Chad Jeffries, but against the Tartans on Friday night, Johnson proved he can play the position pretty well himself. While Jeffries was having arguably his best game of the young season by running and throwing like the standout he’s been advertised to be, Johnson was having one of the better games of his long career.
“He’s a winner, he’s been doing similar stuff for the better part of four years,” West Covina coach Mike Maggiore said of his third-year quarterback.
“He’s making plays and getting things done.”
Johnson made two of the biggest plays of the game on Friday night in completely opposite fashion of each other. With West Covina leading 14-13 and under a minute before halftime, Johnson kept the ball on a play the Bulldogs call “sweep.” He quickly found himself in space against a defender and with one shake, Johnson was off to the races for an improbable score before halftime.
Then, after Glendora responded with a touchdown on its first drive of the second half, Johnson made another big play, but this time with his arm. It was actually the same play as the one he scored on right before halftime, but this time there were receivers in the pattern. Johnson floated a perfect pass to receiver Anthony Molina for a 29-yard touchdown pass that gave West Covina the lead again.
“I can’t say it’s surprising,” Maggiore said. “I liked what he did in the offseason. He worked really hard and got himself in better shape.”
Jeffries was spectacular, too, and Maggiore was feeling very happy on Monday morning that the San Diego State-bound senior didn’t have one last shot to get Glendora a win.
After stopping a Glendora drive, West Covina got the ball back with over six minutes to play and holding a 33-27 lead. The Bulldogs were able to run out the clock by keeping it on the ground and picking up some key first downs.
“We were tired and they were tired and it was encouraging that we dug deep and did what we had to do,” Maggiore said. “There’s no question you don’t want Jeffries to have the ball. We weren’t really stopping him. I’ve been coaching a long time and I haven’t seen a guy with his ability to pressure a defense. We felt it was like the kind of game where if you gave him the ball back with even 30 seconds left, something would happen.”