York-Adams League's top returning receiver Kenny Johnson transfers to Dallastown

ROB ROSE
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York Suburban sophomore Kenny Johnson lines up to run a play during practice. Johnson scored five touchdowns and had 209 receiving yards in the Trojans' week one win.

After Dallastown head football coach Ron Miller read the text that appeared on his phone last week, he nearly lost control of his mouth, he was so shocked.

The message was from the York-Adams League's top returning wide receiver, Kenny Johnson, saying that he had moved from the York Suburban School District to Dallastown and that he wanted to play for the Wildcats this fall.

"When Kenny texted me last week, you can only imagine what my jaw did. It hit the ground because I knew he was a special talent," Miller said. "All I know is, I've never had a transfer like this."

Miller and York Suburban head coach Josh Fry both said the move was made because of a change in Johnson's family residence, and not related to football. Fry enters his first season at Suburban after serving as Miller's defensive coordinator at Dallastown for years and Miller said the schools are working together to ensure Johnson is eligible to play.

Johnson was second in the Y-A League with 640 receiving yards in 2020 and had nine touchdowns. The 6-foot, 1-inch, junior holds an offer from NCAA Division I University of Toledo. He also had three interceptions while playing cornerback.

After injuries prevented him from getting much playing time as a freshman, Johnson made an instant impact as a sophomore with 209 receiving yards and five touchdowns in his first game against Eastern York.

Miller added that during Dallastown's scrimmage against Central Dauphin East on Saturday, Johnson impressed with three big catches and should have had a touchdown on a post route, but the ball never reached him.

Second major loss for Suburban: The loss of Johnson is the second major departure for the Trojans' offense headed into the season. Quarterback Camden Brewer also transferred to Blue Ridge School, a preparatory program in Virginia.

York Suburban quaterback Camden Brewer launches a pass as the Trojans host Lampeter-Strasburg in the District 3 Class 4-A quarterfinal, Friday, November 8, 2019. John A. Pavoncello photo

Brewer and Johnson were both Y-A League D-II all-stars last season. The Trojans' offense will rely heavily on junior running back Mike Bentivegna without Brewer and Johnson after a 4-2 season.

Johnson will change Dallastown's plans: Miller said during Y-A League media day that Dallastown's offensive identity would be to run the ball behind its bulky offensive line, but the Wildcats' now have some new plans after the addition of Johnson.

They hope to significantly improve last year's 1-5 record.

"I'm not gonna lie, it's changed things for us tremendously," Miller said. "He's a great young man. He's taken a leadership role already, just because of his dynamic talent.  We're going to do everything we can to help that young man get where he wants to go and hopefully he takes us where we want to go."

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.