TWIN FALLS • It didn’t matter that Lee Johnson and John Hohnhorst signed several weeks ago to play football for the College of Idaho.
Nothing was going to stop them from having their moment, alongside a third former Twin Falls teammate.
Johnson, Hohnhorst and Brad Lucas were honored Wednesday morning at a signing ceremony in the foyer of Baun Gymnasium, each of them heading to Caldwell to continue their gridiron careers.
“It was kind of like a last-second kind of thing, and it was my coaches who talked to their coaches. It was amazing for them to do that for me,” said Lucas, who expects to play offensive line for the Coyotes. “I was talking to a couple schools, but they were (NCAA Division III) so they had no money available.
“The NAIA is a great opportunity and I’m excited to play there. We’ll have a lot of great kids and I hope I’m up to that level.”
Along with Jason Byce, four Twin Falls players have signed to play at the College of Idaho. A fifth, Chance Connell, is headed to Eastern Arizona College, according to Twin Falls coach Allyn Reynolds.
Reynolds paid tribute to the caliber of athletes and students College of Idaho coach Mike Moroski is recruiting to his program.
“Everybody takes credit for things when they go right. That’s easy to do. But when things go wrong, these three guys take credit for that, too,” Reynolds said of the trio honored Wednesday. “They don’t make excuses. Not once when we questioned something did they blame somebody else.”
Johnson will play both football and baseball in Caldwell. He signed as a punter but hopes to see some time on the defensive side of the football when the team begins play next year.
“Coach Moroski first got involved with me, so it was football first, but once (Twin Falls baseball coach Tim) Stadelmeir heard about it, he started talking with (C of I baseball coach Shawn) Humberger and got everything rolling for me to do both,” Johnson said. “In high school, I always put a huge workload on myself but I think I’ll be able to handle it well.
“In football, it’ll be a struggle for a while having no games (in 2013) but then we’ll get used to it and be hungry for that 2014 season.”
Hohnhorst also had the option to play two sports, but opted to just play football. He was a ballhawk in the Bruin secondary for four seasons and expects to hold a similar role with the Coyotes.
“It was hard to give one up. I had an option to play there for baseball, but it’s a top academic school and I knew I need to keep my grades up,” he said. “I’m definitely going to miss it, but football is definitely my top priority and I’m thankful for that opportunity.
“Coach Moroski just told me to stick to what I’m doing. I succeeded this year and the year before, and we all want that to just move over while I get a little bigger, a little faster and they’ll make me into a college football player.”