EDWARDSVILLE – Edwardsville junior running back Justin Johnson, Jr., has enjoyed a very successful first two seasons in the Tigers’ backfield, and he’s looking forward to a very successful junior year as Edwardsville and five other schools started seven-on-seven passing drills Monday night at Tiger Stadium.

“I think it was pretty good for our first seven-on-seven,” Johnson said in an interview that followed the sessions. “We have room to improve, and we’re going to work on it in practice.”

Johnson was a key back in the Tigers’ offense in his first two years on the team, and he’s expecting another big season.

“I feel it’s going to be a big season,” Johnson said. “We’ve been working, and we’ve been working, and it’s going to pay off. So it’s going to be a big season.”

Johnson is also looking forward to the competition, as the Tigers will be playing a very good schedule once again, and getting better as the season progresses.

“I’m just looking forward to the competition,” Johnson said, “having big games for the team, and improving, everyone improving.”

The Tigers went through to the IHSA Class 8A quarterfinals for the third consecutive year in 2018, and Johnson knows that one of the team’s main goals is to make it to the state playoffs and do well.

“Yes, sir, the goal is always state,” Johnson said, “the goal is always state. So hopefully, make it to the playoffs, have a good run, and we’ll probably make it to state this year.”

And the schedule is a good one once again, which starts on Aug. 30 at McCluer North in Florissant, Mo., and also includes both Missouri state Class 5 and Class 6 champions St. John Vianney Catholic and CBC, both long-time St. Louis football powers.

“Oh, yeah, I’m looking forward to it,” Johnson said. “It’ll be great competition. Good competition, it makes us play better, so we’re ready. We’re working.”

And of course, there’s always the Southwestern Conference schedule, where every game is a battle. Johnson is also looking ahead to the conference schedule as well and is very confident about his team’s chances.

“Yes, sir, the Southwestern Conference, we compete every year,” Johnson said. “The guys, they talk, and when they talk, we’re working, so we’re going to show them differently this year.”

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