, Salem, MA


September 20, 2013

Moving The Chains: Electric talent; Pingree's Johnnie Spears is the best North Shore football player you've never seen


“It’s either take a hit or give a hit, and I’m not taking too many hits,” said Spears, who played at Georgetown High for two years before transferring to Pingree and repeating his sophomore year.

College football coaches love what they see in Spears, a player with long arms and ability to jump (a basketball all-star at point guard, he can easily dunk) in addition to his natural athleticism on the gridiron. A plethora of schools — Villanova, New Hampshire, Maine, Bowdoin, Bates, Stonehill, Amherst, Colby, Williams, Lehigh, Springfield, Western New England, Endicott, Curry and UMass Amherst have all expressed interest in him. And that doesn’t even include the schools that have cast an eye Powers’ way for his basketball exploits.

“He’ll have good choices when that time comes,” said Powers.

“As of right now, I’m leaning towards football,” said Spears, when asked which of the two sports he’d rather play in college. “I think about after college, which (sport) I’d have more of a chance to keep playing, and I’d definitely be football. But at the end of the day it’ll come down to what’s best for me and my family.”

Spears has taken to heart many of the things taught to him by his grandfather. Phrases such as ‘it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog’ and ‘hit the hole hard and you’ll always be fine’ are seared into his memory bank. His attention to detail and insistence on always doing the little things correctly have elevated him to superstar status.

“The play is never, ever over until you hear that whistle blow. I’m always going to go hard until I hear it,” he said. “You let up for even one play, and you’ve got to watch it in film the next day and won’t feel good. I don’t ever want to feel that way.”

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