Zac Johnson on UM special teams 9.4

Written by David Green.

Zac Johnson is no longer the walk-on who stands around.

After making it onto the University of Michigan football team as a walk-on last year, the 2007 Morenci graduate was red-shirted and forced to watch the UM home games from the sideline last season.

That status ended Saturday when the Wolverines took on the University of Utah.

Johnson, #19, earned a spot on the UM special teams and was on the field frequently for kickoffs and returns and punts and returns—right from the first play of the season.

The thrill of playing before 108,000 fans is a thrill he’ll long remember.

“It was like no other feeling to play in front of that many fans and to be out there on the opening play,” Johnson said. “My adrenaline was crazy.”

He got in a few good blocks during the day and was credited with a solo tackle on a first-quarter kickoff, with his name announced over the public address system.

The day ended up on the bittersweet side: the thrill of playing; the disappointment of a loss.

“I hate losing, and to be that close in the end, you really want to come out on top,” he said. “I feel like we have a lot of work to do, but we have the athletes and the potential to be great if we can bring it all together.”

The Wolverines came from behind to pull within two points before losing to the Utes, 25-23. They’ll regroup for a visit from Miami of Ohio this weekend. The Redhawks lost their opener 34-13 to Vanderbilt.

  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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