Prep football: Barron Collier's new QB makes net gains

Barron Collier's Paul Johnson returns a shot during his match against Pensacola Washington's Keegan Lowery during the FHSAA Tennis Finals in Altamonte Springs, Fla., Tuesday, April 19, 2011.(Phelan M. Ebenhack Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Barron Collier's Paul Johnson returns a shot during his match against Pensacola Washington's Keegan Lowery during the FHSAA Tennis Finals in Altamonte Springs, Fla., Tuesday, April 19, 2011.(Phelan M. Ebenhack Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Barron Collier’s new quarterback has won a state title but has been away from football for three years.

Paul Johnson, a state tennis champion for Barron Collier, is the Cougars’ new signal caller.

“Paul approached me in the offseason about playing and to be honest, I didn’t take him very seriously,” Cougars head coach Dan Pallante said. “But he’s one of those kids who is very successful at whatever he does. He’s a dedicated athlete and he’s a big kid with a strong arm.”

The Cougars have installed a new offense, one with multiple looks and more emphasis on the passing game.

Pallante said the new offense looked good in a scrimmage Saturday against Ida Baker. The scrimmage was part of a referee certification clinic for local officials.

“In one 50 play scrimmage, I think we threw the ball more than we did all last year,” Pallante said. “We’re still going to be running the option but we’re going to take what the defense gives us. We feel we’ll be more balanced this year.”

Brady Pallante, who will anchor the Barron Collier defensive, will play for another Brady in college.

Pallante, a a-6-foot-1 280 pound rising senior, recently gave a verbal commitment to play for Brady Hoke at the University of Michigan.

“(Brady) had 30 Division I offers but he fell in love with Michigan when he visited,” Cougars coach and proud father Dan Pallante said. “It’s really a neat place with so much tradition.”

The Pallantes are preparing for what they hope will be a great senior sendoff for Brady. That preparation starts with Thursday’s spring game at South Fort Myers.

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