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.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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