CLOSER LOOK: Ramona’s Nathan Johnson

Take a closer look at Riverside Ramona senior Nathan Johnson and you’ll see a kid who looks the part and now just needs the consistency to play the part at the next level.

Johnson completed 11 of 21 pass attempts for 235 yards and two touchdowns for the Rams (1-0 overall, 0-0 River Valley League), who opened up the season with a 35-25 victory over Riverside North on Friday, Aug. 19.

The 6-foot-2, 170-pound quarterback had a banner junior season, completing 58-percent of his passes for 19 TDs and more than 1,800 yards as the Rams reached the CIF-Southern Section Division 8 quarterfinals.

Johnson will team with senior RB Beau Bruins again this season and look to lead the Rams to a CIF-SS final for the first time this century.

We caught up with Johnson after Ramona’s 10-point win over North. He was calm and confident. What does it mean to start your senior season with a win?
Nathan Johnson: “It feels really good to get out to a good start and be the best in Riverside. This is a game we’ve had circled on our calendars for a really long time, and we were really looking forward to this match-up so it feels good to get it done and execute.”

IF: How important was it to get out to an early 14-0 lead?
NJ: “I think getting out to an early lead was important because it set the tone for the rest of the game. All of our players were hyped and we continued that momentum throughout the game.”

IF: Some big swings back-and-forth in the second half but how did you manage to keep the lead?
NJ: “We just stayed level-headed. We we’re telling ourselves it was a 0-0 ballgame. We just played with compusure and not try to do too much, and we just played our game. We played Ramona football.”

IF: You and Beau have targets on your back this season. How are you handling that?
NJ: “I think we just handle it one game at a time. I think our league is very competitive this year and everybody has a target on their backs, so we’re just going to take it one game at a time and move on week to week.”

IF: What’s your goal for this team?
NJ: “CIF championship is definitely our main goal but obviously we also want to go to State, and we’ve had the goal in mind since we were freshman so we’re just taking this opportunity to go after it.”

IF: How do you get to there?
NJ: “I think we have to stay consistent. The offense has to score every time we have the ball. Defense has to get stops and we move on week to week.”

IF: Do you want to play at the next level? 
NJ: “I definitely want to play in college. I’d love to play anywhere I can.”


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