High School Football

Johansen has its biggest roster in years. Leadership, coach says, will be vital.

Sights and sounds from Johansen’s first practice after dead period

Johansen High School won three games in 2018, the school's most since 2011.
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Johansen High School won three games in 2018, the school's most since 2011.

During the first practice after dead period ended, Johansen coach Scott Sacuskie saw something that needed to change if the Vikings were to have any success in 2019.

“We need seniors to step up and lead and create ownership,” Sacuskie said. “We (coaches) are the ones leading right now and pushing the players. We need players to do that.”

A once struggling program, the Vikings won three games in 2018, its most since 2011 and more than the last six years combined.

Johansen will have over 40 players on the varsity roster, the most in a long time, Sacuskie said. Nearly all are upperclassmen.

“We have the talent and numbers for a winning record and we can potentially start 2-0. So, we are feeding kids a winning mentality,” Sacuskie, who is entering his fourth-year as head coach, said.

Senior quarterback John “JP” Romero said he will be one of the leaders and will do it by leading by example and making smart plays.

“Last year, we did things we hadn’t done in a while,” he said. “We are going to use it as a steppingstone.”

It’s been a busy offseason for the 6-foot, 190-pound Romero, who said it’s been “24/7 football.” He’s been working with his quarterback coach, training at Bonsu Elite Athletics in Ceres and traveling to quarterback camps, including the East Coast where he went to multiple Ivy League schools.

Senior defensive lineman Alonzo Perez, a first-time Western Athletic Conference defensive lineman, returns as well as junior wide receiver/safety Johnny Johnson.

Sacuskie said the team also is using the 24-14 win over Beyer to end last season as a morale boost.

“We are going to build this program up,” Romero said.


School: Johansen

Record: 3-7, 2-5 in Western Athletic Conference

Players to Watch: Senior quarterback John Romero, Senior defensive lineman Alonzo Perez, Junior wide receiver/safety Johnny Johnson

Biggest Game: Nov. 1 vs. Beyer

Something special about school: School has two different snack bars during games. One is run by the booster club while the band is in charge of the other one. They also have various food trucks as well.

Playoff appearances last five years: None

Season Schedule:

DateOpponent Time

23Waterford 7:30 p.m.
30at Delhi7:30 p.m.

6Bye Week

13at East Union 7 p.m.
20Pacheco 7 p.m.
27at Mountain House7 p.m.

4Ceres7 p.m.
11at Los Banos 7 p.m.
18Lathrop7 p.m.
25at Davis7 p.m.

1Beyer7 p.m.
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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.