I enjoyed High School. I loved so many things about it, but I especially enjoyed football games. Standing in the freezing cold with some of my best friends huddled next to me while we screamed and cheered for our team. Since Johnny and I have been married I have often thought about what it would have been like to be on the sidelines when Johnny played…
A few days ago one of Johnny's facebook friends sent him this article. I already knew he didn’t “settle for second best” because he married me… but I still got a kick out of this article. Wish I could have been there cheering him on!!
From the Orlando Sentinel by Sara ShecKler, June 15, 1997
LEESBURG — This year's salutatorian at Leesburg High School was
honored as a 1997 Scholar/Athlete Award finalist at a recent banquet
held in Orlando.
Johnny Russ, 18, received a plaque during the banquet where he and 19
other Central Florida high school seniors were lauded for their
scholastic and athletic accomplishments.
Johnny graduated from Leesburg High School with a 4.66 weighted
grade-point average. During his four years there, Johnny played
offensive tackle and defensive line on the Yellow Jackets football
team. Three of those years were for the varsity team.
During his senior year, Johnny was captain of the Yellow Jackets and was
voted its most valuable player.
He also spent four years on the high school's weight lifting team and
may have set a new school record for a weight lifting maneuver called
''clean and jerk,'' lifting 295 pounds.
''Johnny is not a person who is willing to settle for second best,
whether it's in football and weight lifting or academics,'' said Tracy
Sherrod, the weight lifting coach at Leesburg High. ''He gives it his
all when he's committed to something. He pushed himself in the
classroom and the weight room.''
Johnny said he was able to balance his participation in athletics while
maintaining good grades.
''I had to set priorities. During football season, I was able to keep
up my grades,'' he said.
Johnny said he finds weight lifting enjoyable because it's a sport that
can be done on his own, yet is a team effort.
He said lifting weights also made him stronger and quicker on the
During his senior year, Johnny was named to the all-county weight lifting team.
''The good thing about being on the football team is that you learn to
work with your teammates and you make friendships,'' he said.
Johnny plans to attend Brigham Young University in Utah in the fall on
an academic scholarship, possibly majoring in computer engineering.
''I like the fact that it's a church school and is set in the
mountains,'' he said.
He said he plans to continue lifting weights while at college to stay
in good shape.
''Mainly I'm swimming now. I got a shoulder injury while playing
football this year that makes it difficult to do a lot of weight
lifting,'' he said.
Johnny, the son of Lizabeth and George Russ, is working this summer as
head lifeguard at Venetian Gardens, where he also teaches swim
The 1997 Scholar/Athlete Awards were sponsored by The Orlando Sentinel
and presented by the Downtown Athletic Club of Orlando.