By John O’Neill/Garden Grove Journal
Pacifica high’s football team is loaded with talented and skilled players who have made the Mariners one of the top-ranked teams in CIF Southwest Division.
One of those players is senior running back Cody Johnson.
The standout in the Marinerrs’ backfield has emerged as one of the best and most productive running backs in the Empire League and in the Southwest Division.
In five games this season, Johnson has accumulated 605 yards on the ground while catching 13 passes for 147 yards in the air.
“Look at our games,” Pacifica Coach Marcello Guiliano said. “Our offense is designed for four guys. Cody is a very important piece of our offense. If the defense takes a couple of our guys out of the picture, we have to go to where it’s open and still run a successful play.”
In the Mariners’ victory over long-time rival Garden Grove, 42-27, Johnson had a 43-yard gallop to set up a touchdown on the next play. He also scored on a run of 45 yards.
Johnson also added another tally with a three-yard rush. He completed his long romps that night with a n impressive total of 240 yards.
“When it comes to rushing, I’m the guy in the backfield,” Johnson emphasized. “When it comes to passing, I’m the safety valve that gets open. I try to use a little bit of both (power and speed)to get the job done. I can use speed to get around a tackle, but I’m not afraid to put my shoulder down and go right at them.”
Johnson is definately no stranger to breaking open a long run. In the 28-24 victory over El Dorado, he had a 26-yard run and rushed for touchdowns on runs of 11 yards and 10 yards. He also added a 14-yard score agaist Whittier.
“He has the capability of breaking runs during critical plays,” Guiliano said. “He has a lot of different tools. He runs hard and has the ability to cut back,go the other way and keep gaining yards. He would have gained 100 yards a game last year if he had been healthy.
He works hard. He’s one of our captains.”
Johnson is a three-year starter for the Mariners. He didn’t see much action in his sophomore year as senior Josh Brandon was given most of the carries. Last season he only played in six of Pacifica’s 12 games.
In three of those games, he gained over a 100 yards before straining the quadriceps muscle in his leg.
“It was really frustrating watching our team playing hard out on the field and not being able to go out there and help them,” Johnson explained. “It’s a lot better this year. I’m a captain and I’m yelling at them in practice or telling to watch how I do it. But, I have nothing but praise for them. I praise the linemen everyday.”
Having grown up in the neighborhood around Pacifica, Johnson used to go to the Mariner games and watch his older brother Marcus and his friends play football. It got him interested in football and he knew eventually he would be playing for Pacifica, too. Now he watches USC play and he does have a 4.0 GPA. However, he isn’t planning on reliving his history.
“I’m thinking about going to an out of state college like maybe Oregon, NYU or Maryland. I’m going to major in sports medicine or business management,” Johnson said. “Right now, I’m just focusing on how this team (the Mariners) does this season. I feel we are going to go deep into the CIF playoffs. Coach Guiliano is a really good coach and all the guys have a lot of heart.”
In the meantime, Cody Johnson will do what a lot of guys his age do for fun. He’ll be enjoying himself at the beach boogie-boarding and surfing.
After that he’ll hang out with his friends where a basketball or football game is sure to break out.