POTW: Johnny Lockett

Published 10:35 pm Monday, December 8, 2008

It was the most commonly used phrase in the press box at Legion Field Friday afternoon.

“There he goes,” uttered sports writers from all over the state as they watched Sweet Water junior Johnny Lockett burst through would-be tacklers and into the open field.

It was a sequence that played out continally. Lockett would get the ball, surge through the initial wave of defenders and shake loose from some fruitless attempt at a takedown. Just as he did, everyone in Birmingham who had heard of “The Rocket’s” speed just knew he had reservations for six.

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And, three times during the second quarter of the Bulldogs’ state championship victory, they were right. The Sweet Water running back and eventual Super Six 1A MVP carried the ball 17 times for 179 yards and two touchdowns. He also found himself on the receiving end of a 36-yard touchdown strike from senior signal caller Damaraquis Williams.

That catch gave Johnny “The Rocket” Lockett 215 yards from scrimmage on the day and etched him into the memories of Speake High players, coaches and fans for years to come.

More importantly, his day helped Sweet Water to its third straight state title and helped secure his place in Bulldog lore.

It seems the greatest obstacle to Lockett’s personal accomplishments has not been opposing defenses. Rather, it has reportedly been his own selflessness. Sweet Water head coach Stacy Luker said he and his staff often have to remind the tailback to get his touches.

“We think he’s a Division I back,” Luker says plainly and matter-of-factly of the ability of Lockett, who has one more season in the Bulldog program. After Friday afternoon, Speake High faithful and a press box full of Alabama sports writers apparently agree.