I’ve been blessed to pursue my love of football in a career covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the past 20 years. For the past four years I’ve helped coach my sons’ Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators as the defensive line coach and a co-defensive coordinator. It’s my way of taking all of the football knowledge I’ve learned over the years and giving back to the community and to kids, while spending family time at nightly practices three days a week and during games on Saturday while my daughters cheer for SPP.
I am using my position as publisher of this website to reach out to as many people as possible to request prayers for a dear friend of my family and our Predators football family. If you aren’t religious or think you’ll be offended by my request for prayer, please do us both a favor right now and stop reading this post.
I do believe in the power of prayer and Xavier Johnson, a 16-year old high school linebacker at Sunlake High School in Pasco County, suffered a very serious head injury in a tubing accident on a lake on Saturday afternoon and needs as many people praying for him as possible. Please forgive me for personally using this platform and the hundreds of thousands of Bucs fans PewterReport.com reaches to help Xavier as he is currently in ICU in a medically induced coma to help reduce the swelling around his brain.
X, as he is known to his family and friends, is the eldest son of Ross Johnson, a great friend of mine, our Predators offensive line coach and the pastor at Gathering Pointe Church, and the older brother of Zephy, our three-technique defensive tackle the last four years.
But X is more than that. I call him an Xtraordinary kid who is always at the SPP field cheering on his little brother and helping out our coaching staff. A lot of 16-year old boys that can drive would rather be hanging with their friends or chasing girls around town on Saturdays, but X is always at our games cheering on his younger brother and helping me, his dad, and our defensive coaches. He loves faith, family and football in that order. Friends are a very close fourth on his list.
X is a fantastic role model for the 10-, 11- and 12-year olds on our Pop Warner team, and the friendliest, goofiest, most hard-working kid you’ll ever meet. I want my boys to grow up to be like Xavier. I love and admire this kid so much.
Aside from South Pasco Predators football and Sunlake High School football, X is passionate about Nebraska football – as is his dad and younger brothers. One of the perks of my job are the relationships I form with some of the Buccaneers players, and each year I bring one of them out to football practice to meet the kids. Two years ago, I brought out former Nebraska star Lavonte David, which thrilled the Johnson family, especially X.
One of our Predators traditions that Ross started with our team is saying the Husker Prayer before our game. It’s the chant that the Cornhuskers say before coming out of the tunnel before each Nebraska game, and X usually leads our young boys in the Husker Prayer before each Predators game.
Dear Lord, the battles we go through in life,
We ask for a chance that’s fair.
A chance to equal our stride,
A chance to do or dare.
If we should win, let it be by the code,
Faith and honor held high.
If we should lose, we’ll stand by the road,
And cheer as the winners go by.
Day by day – we get better and better!
The team that can’t be beat!
WON’T BE BEAT!
So what a thrill it was for him to lead that prayer with David alongside his dad, younger brother, and our Predators team. In the photo and video, Xavier’s father is wearing the red Herbie hat just behind him, and Zephy is just to X’s left, right in front of his dad.
Please pray for the X-Man. He needs it right now.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com
Praying right now.
Well done Scott. Amen.
How awful for that young man…
Best wishes AND prayers go out for his full recovery.
I also believe in the power of prayer having seen God do many miraculous things over the years in response to prayer. I love football and my Bucs, but the pales in comparison to my passion for God. Know that I will lift up X in my prayers and will put his name out to my prayer network. JesusChurch in Brandon will also be praying.
My prayers sent!
As a Christian myself I have already sent up a prayer for the young man. Jesus is still in the healing business!
Strength be with you. You will be okay, you will endure and become stronger. Prayers and thoughts for you, sir.
Thanks much everyone. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the family and Scott appreciate it more than you know. SR visited before One Buc today, no new news but he will update as soon as there is something to report.
Well said, God bless young man.
As a Christian I know they’re many things in life that we are not privileged to understand. But this I know, God is sovereign and He is good. Thank you, Scott for calling for prayer for this young man. I am honored to join with you and the others. It is our faith in action.
Many thoughts and prayers for this young man and his family!!!
Let me start by saying I’m a christian but I don’t believe in the power of prayer otherwise everyone would be saved by it, I pray for a safe journey if he passes and thats all we can do. God doesn’t pick and choose who to save, but he will let them into his kingdom if worthy
Prayers your way!
The Husker Prayer says it all. I’m sending the most precious gift God has for us all; Love.
As a Christian, may Jesus bless this young man and speed him on to the road to recovery. My prayer sent.
May God be there to comfort this family during this difficult time. I don’t know what God’s plan is for X, nor does anyone else, but I pray that we can get a blessing out of it. If its his time to go be with the Lord, I pray that his family knows he will not suffer. If God desires that X recover, I pray that the recovery will be full and smooth, regardless, I pray that his family and friends find comfort with the Lord at this time!
Hey Xavier Johnson, any fan of Lavante David is a fan of mine; get well, so you can do more great things, and see more Lavonte and the Bucs.
I can’t imagine a worse situation than for someone to not be able to enjoy what they loved to do and see, when those things are coming.
Prayers and Best wishes.
Thinking positive thoughts for the young man. Religious or not, we should all have a heart and set aside what are ultimately minor differences when the health of a friend is at stake. I wish Xavier a speedy recovery.
Prayers for a quick recovery and the healing hand of God the great physician
God bless you with a speedy recovery, X.
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