I’ve been blessed to pursue my love of football in a career covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the past 20 years. For the past four years I’ve helped coach my sons’ Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators as the defensive line coach and a co-defensive coordinator. It’s my way of taking all of the football knowledge I’ve learned over the years and giving back to the community and to kids, while spending family time at nightly practices three days a week and during games on Saturday while my daughters cheer for SPP.
I am using my position as publisher of this website to reach out to as many people as possible to request prayers for a dear friend of my family and our Predators football family. If you aren’t religious or think you’ll be offended by my request for prayer, please do us both a favor right now and stop reading this post.
I do believe in the power of prayer and Xavier Johnson, a 16-year old high school linebacker at Sunlake High School in Pasco County, suffered a very serious head injury in a tubing accident on a lake on Saturday afternoon and needs as many people praying for him as possible. Please forgive me for personally using this platform and the hundreds of thousands of Bucs fans PewterReport.com reaches to help Xavier as he is currently in ICU in a medically induced coma to help reduce the swelling around his brain.
X, as he is known to his family and friends, is the eldest son of Ross Johnson, a great friend of mine, our Predators offensive line coach and the pastor at Gathering Pointe Church, and the older brother of Zephy, our three-technique defensive tackle the last four years.
But X is more than that. I call him an Xtraordinary kid who is always at the SPP field cheering on his little brother and helping out our coaching staff. A lot of 16-year old boys that can drive would rather be hanging with their friends or chasing girls around town on Saturdays, but X is always at our games cheering on his younger brother and helping me, his dad, and our defensive coaches. He loves faith, family and football in that order. Friends are a very close fourth on his list.
X is a fantastic role model for the 10-, 11- and 12-year olds on our Pop Warner team, and the friendliest, goofiest, most hard-working kid you’ll ever meet. I want my boys to grow up to be like Xavier. I love and admire this kid so much.
Aside from South Pasco Predators football and Sunlake High School football, X is passionate about Nebraska football – as is his dad and younger brothers. One of the perks of my job are the relationships I form with some of the Buccaneers players, and each year I bring one of them out to football practice to meet the kids. Two years ago, I brought out former Nebraska star Lavonte David, which thrilled the Johnson family, especially X.
One of our Predators traditions that Ross started with our team is saying the Husker Prayer before our game. It’s the chant that the Cornhuskers say before coming out of the tunnel before each Nebraska game, and X usually leads our young boys in the Husker Prayer before each Predators game.
Dear Lord, the battles we go through in life, We ask for a chance that’s fair. A chance to equal our stride, A chance to do or dare. If we should win, let it be by the code, Faith and honor held high. If we should lose, we’ll stand by the road, And cheer as the winners go by.
Day by day – we get better and better! The team that can’t be beat! WON’T BE BEAT!
So what a thrill it was for him to lead that prayer with David alongside his dad, younger brother, and our Predators team. In the photo and video, Xavier’s father is wearing the red Herbie hat just behind him, and Zephy is just to X’s left, right in front of his dad.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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