A-K Valley high school football Q&A with Highlands’ Johnny Crise

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019 | 5:34 PM


Over the past few weeks, the Highlands football team has started to hit its stride, especially in the passing game.

Senior wide receiver Johnny Crise has been a big part of that. During Highlands’ past two games, he has caught 12 passes for 295 yards and four touchdowns as the Golden Rams pushed South Fayette to the brink two weeks ago and then escaped with an overtime victory this past Friday against New Castle.

“I think it was more of a mental thing than a physical thing,” Crise said about his improvement that past two weeks. “I wasn’t thinking about going out there and trying to do too much. I was just staying within my game and have been playing how I do.”

Highlands’ matchup against New Castle on Friday had a deja vu element to it. Two years ago, New Castle came down to Natrona Heights and handed the Golden Rams a one-point loss in overtime.

On Friday, Highlands returned the favor.

After going to overtime, the Golden Rams took the lead but failed on a 2-point conversion attempt and were left with a six-point cushion. New Castle worked its way down to the 1-yard line. On fourth down, New Castle running back Demitrius McKnight tried to run it up the middle, but the Highlands defense came up with a big stop.

“I was just telling the guys, ‘Don’t try to do too much. This needs to be a team thing,’ ” Crise said. “If one person tried to do too much, it wasn’t going to work.”

Through nine weeks, Crise has 670 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 33 catches, which is good enough for ninth in the WPIAL.

Crise is this week’s subject for the A-K Valley Q & A:

What was that like to come out with a big win Friday at this point in the season?

With how our season started off, we kind of regret having that type of start because now looking at the end of the season, we are coming off a big win and have a ton of confidence.

What’s been the key for you guys down the stretch here?

We definitely trust each other more. We are just playing football now.

You guys face Latrobe on Friday. What’s it going to take to end the season on a good note?

We just have to keep our heads. The big key for us has been playing within ourselves, not trying to go out and do too much.

Do you have a favorite NFL team?

I’d have to go with the Pittsburgh Steelers

Who’s your favorite athlete?

LeBron James, but not just because of what he does on the court, everything he does off the court. I look up to him in that way.

If you could switch places with anybody on earth, who would it be?

Oh, that’s a good question. I’d have to say coach (Mike) Krzyzewski at Duke. I’d love to see what goes through his mind as a coach.

What’s your favorite movie?

That’s tough. I watch so many it’s hard to pick. But if I had to pick one it’d be The Incredibles 2.

What’s your favorite food?

Ribs, for sure

Is there anything you wouldn’t eat?

Probably sushi

The NBA started this week. So what’s your championship prediction?

I want to say the Pelicans because of Zion and he could have such a great legacy, so I’d probably say them.

If you didn’t play football or basketball, what sport would you play?

I’d probably say soccer because there are a lot of similarities, and my older brother used to play it, too.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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