If the Beecher boys soccer team needs A.J. Johns to drive the bus to the Peotone Regional, don't expect the senior captain to shrink at the task.
Johns has of late been filling in wherever the Bobcats needs may rest, and as the heart and soul of his team, Johns is more than capable of taking the Bobcats to a Regional championship and beyond.
"It would be nice to get past regionals," Johns said. "I haven't done that in my four years. It would be nice to accomplish a new goal."
After a recent injury to senior goalie Giozanni Shiavone, Johns has moved from his midfielder position back to the defense to help the Bobcats solidify the back. Johns is used to playing all over the field and says the change does not affect his game.
"The games that the other team is a little more offensive it's nice to be back there," Johns said. "I can help pick up any loose balls or just help keep the back row moving or going where they need to be. Mainly I like mid because I'm able to do both defense and offense."
Beecher coach Dawn Compton is able to move Johns around the field depending on any given opponent, but with the recent injury to Shiavone, Compton is much more comfortable with Johns helping out on defense.
"He kind of floated between defensive-mid and stopper for us this year," Compton said. "Even though he's been primarily defense for us this year, I think he's managed something like seven goals and six assists for us. He really is the backbone of the team. Unfortunately with our keeper hurt, we've had to make some adjustments and I have been playing him a little more defensively."
Johns has led the Bobcats to a River Valley Conference championship and a 6-0 record in league play, and the senior feels this team is the best he has played with in his four years with the Bobcat's program.
"My first year when I started out it was a lot of selfish play," Johns said. "We were really a team of individuals. I see us growing as a team in the four years since I've been a freshman. Everyone in that freshman class, growing up into seniors, we've been playing a lot more as a team."
If the Bobcats are going to make it past the Peotone Regional, Johns will be somewhere in the middle -- or back -- of it all, making a difference. And if he needs to drive the bus, Compton just might let him based on all that he's accomplished for the team.
"Without him out on the field we don't have the season we've had," Compton said. "We don't win our conference."