Amarillo Venom wide receiver Raymond Johnson had a big year in 2016, leading the Champions Indoor Football League in receptions, receiving yards and all-purpose yards while also being top five in receiving touchdowns but he wants to help Amarillo bring home a championship in 2017.
Johnson holds his expectations for 2017 very high, saying that anything short of a championship win would be a failure for the Venom this season.
“(We’re looking) to win the championship,” Johnson said. “Anything else would be a failure.”
Johnson added that he sees some players coming in that he expects to have big years, but first and foremost he expects the Venom to compete at a high level.
“I don’t know if you guys remember Devin Culbert, a cornerback, he’s been out there showing me some good things,” Johnson said. “We’ve got a couple of receivers coming from Ohio and there’s another one already here from Abilene Christian, Cedric Gilbert. We’ve got bigger receivers so that’s more help out there. But I look for everybody to come out there and compete.”
At 29 years old, Johnson said that he’s feeling good coming into the season. The Venom’s primary target for quarterback Nate Davis noted that he’s been spending the offseason in the gym keeping himself in playing shape to help lead Amarillo on a championship run this season.
“My body feels good,” Johnson said. “I’ve been in the gym for four months straight now. I’ve been outside running, doing sprints so I’ll be ready for this season.”
Last season, Johnson tallied a league-leading 2544 all-purpose yards with 1272 of those coming on passes from Davis. He also caught a total of 93 passes throughout the regular season and playoffs and scored on 21 of them.
Amarillo head coach Julian Reese knows how important a role Johnson plays in the offense as well as in a leadership position off the field with the team.
“He’s a great wide receiver that’s able to do a lot for us,” Reese said. “I expect a great year from him. I also know that he’ll help the guys coming in get adjusted. I’m sure he’ll just do what he does best to help this team win.”
Johnson and the Venom will see their first game action on Feb. 25 when they host the Mexico City All-Star team, LEXFA, at the Amarillo Civic Center Cal Farley Coliseum. Amarillo opens the regular season on Mar. 11 at the Duke City Gladiators.