MERRILLVILLE | Jamie Johnson thought about the game of football as a lad. He wondered what it would be like to play the game. But his experience with the game was like a kid at a candy store, looking in from the storefront window.
"I wasn't allowed to play," Johnson said. "My mom wouldn't let me. She said it was too tough and she was afraid I would get hurt."
Like kids in a store full of sugar looking for someone to buy them chocolate after mom said no, Johnson went to his grandfather, Ron Jenkins. He spoke to Nicole Robinson about the venture and mom gave the green light.
No one is happier about this decision than Andrean football coach Phil Mason.
"It's been huge," Mason said of his 5-foot-7, 155-pound wide receiver. "You can't single cover him. And if you do he's gone. So if you give him the coverage he deserves, that opens things up for the rest of the guys on the offense."
Heading into Friday's Class 3A state championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium, Johnson has 25 catches for 692 yards and nine touchdowns. Top-ranked Andrean (15-0) will play No. 7 Indianapolis Brebeuf (11-3). Kickoff is at 2:30.
Johnson played baseball growing up and does at 5959 Broadway, too. But he didn't get football whiskers for the 'Niners until this season. His first day of football was when he was in the eighth grade.
"I always watched my friends play and they never got hurt," Johnson said. "It took me a little while to figure it out."
Mason said two years ago coaches had to point out what the route was because he didn't know.
"I've gotten a lot better this year," Johnson said. "I used to run just straight fades. Now, I can run any route pretty well."
After a postseason on mud, Johnson is pumped to play in the home of the Indianapolis Colts.
"This has been extremely fun," he said. "We're all close. This is a brotherhood. We can't wait to get down there. I believe I will be one or two steps faster on the turf. I hope I can blow by everyone."