Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

August 22, 2012

Sho-Johnson loves putting on a show

PRINCETON — Though small in stature, at 5-foot-6, there’s nothing at all small about Tahj Sho-Johnson’s impact on the football field or soccer pitch for Princeton Senior High School.

The two-sport athlete for the Tigers enters his junior season after scoring 10 touchdowns last fall in an injury-plagued year on the gridiron, and giving soccer defenses fits with his formidable ball-handling skills across the street at the soccer stadium.

He is again the feature back for the football team that new head coach Randy Peek inherited last month. Peek’s wide-open spread offense is no problem for Sho-Johnson.

Asked if he was having any problems with the new scheme, Sho-Johnson said, “Most of the stuff, we used to do it. I used to run it, so it was pretty easy for me to do.”

He said the “jet sweep” is one of his particular favorite plays.

“I love the sweeps, outside the lines and stuff,” he said. The first times he ran it in practice, he said, “It was really good, because all of the outside linemen were blocking in front. I give them everything, because they’re working hard.”

They’re not the only ones, he reported. To improve on the Tigers’ 3-7 mark last year, Sho-Johnson said, “We’ve just got to work hard. The line, everybody’s doing well, and the coaches are teaching everybody what to do and how to play well.”

“Everybody just has to listen to the coaches, and learn what they’re telling them [and] learn the position they’re playing.”

He is likewise positive about the Princeton defense that he gets to see daily in practice.

“They’re really good,” he said. “It’s really hard to run against them, because all of them know what to do. The defensive coaches are teaching them how to do well, how to play their spot.”

Already a veteran after playing as a freshman and sophomore, Sho-Johnson said he’s been one of many working with the Tigers’ less-experienced players.

He said, “I’ve helped them a lot, like try to teach them where to play, where to line up. I try to teach them everything, to do your best ... to do well for the team. I try to help them out.”

Along the way in his varsity career, he was mentored by the seniors who graduated last spring. Now a new cadre of Tigers is taking their turn in the huddle.

Talking about the Class of 2012, Sho-Johnson said, “We miss them a lot. They were really a big help to us when they were here. Now they’re gone, but we’ve got a lot of people filling their shoes.”

Only a few days remain until the Tigers board their bus for Beckley and the start of the season on Friday evening against Woodrow Wilson High School. Game time is 7:30 p.m. in Flying Eagles Stadium.

In the time remaining, Sho-Johnson said last week, “We’ve got a lot to learn from the coaches, a little bit more to do to become a team and get ready for the beginning of the season.”

— Contact Tom Bone at

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