Withers The Back

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

SALEM, Ore.–  Johnny Withers has made a name for himself since making the full-time move to Varsity in the Fall 2021 season.  Taking over the running back position from the recently graduated Nate Garcia.

The downside is that he’s a senior, but the upside is that he is making the most of this opportunity as he entered the 6A playoffs with 931 yards and 11 touchdowns over the regular season.  Owning the moment as West Salem wrapped up final preparations for Friday’s 6A Round of 16 match-up with Sherwood.

“You gotta play it like it could be your last.  Leave it all on the field and it’s good motivation,” Withers said.  “On JV, I got a lot of reps.  I got a lot of in-game experience.”

Withers has been a quiet presence, letting his talking begin when he lines up at running back or linebacker where he was first-team on offense and second team on defense in his respective positions.  Similar to his squad, he and the Titans have been steadily improving as they enter this next task at hand this week sitting at 9-1 on the year.

Withers carries the ball during Thursday’s kickoff return drill as West Salem host Sherwood Friday night at West Salem High School (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

With the help of Brooks Ferguson and Hudson Giertych splitting carries out of the backfield, the workload hasn’t been too bad as the trio each have 12 touchdowns on the season on the ground.

“Brooks, he’s a running back in his own world,” laughed Withers.  “It’s been incredible (though), I can’t put it into words right now.  Just really good rotations and we’re all capable of running the ball, all three of us.  It doesn’t matter because one of us is going to be in at some point and plays are just waiting to happen at that point.”

Ferguson (557) and Giertych (756) combined for over 1,300 yards on the ground during the regular season as the Bowmen look to curtail the three-headed monster coming out of the backfield Friday night at 7pm.

“As a team we’ve progressed a ton, just within every game…we’ve just kept on getting better and better.  We’ve prepared enough where this next game we’re going to be better,” Withers said.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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