Cheyenne Mountain's August Johnson had a strong tendency to go left when attacking the net this season. Defenses knew it and his coaches didn't hide it.
There was still no stopping him.
Johnson, more often than not, was too strong, fast and determined, and finished his junior season with 48 goals and 36 assists, helping lead Cheyenne Mountain into the state semifinals for the third straight season.
Coach Mike Paige's praise of his standout midfielder ranged everywhere from his "great sense of humor," to his relentless drive on the field and in the classroom, to being the "best athlete at the school."
"He really makes us great," Paige said of Johnson, The Gazette Boys' Lacrosse Peak Performer of the Year.
Johnson's continued transformation into one of the top lacrosse prospects in the state starts and ends with his work off the field and out of pads.
With the same kind of head-swiveling skills that are marveled over at something like the NFL Combine, Johnson has built an athletic framework like few others.
Ambidextrous with a shot clocked at 105 mph, Johnson is also a rare breed of strength and speed. Dead lifting 405 pounds and squatting 375, the junior also said he set the school record in the shuttle run (a 20-yard dash in 2.41 seconds) and the pro agility shuttle, which assesses someone's quickness and ability to change directions.
Johnson logged the most minutes on the team last season, per his coach, despite facing a steady barrage of double and triple teams.
"It's good to be well-rounded, I guess. It's good to be physically capable," Johnson said. "It's important to have stick skills, obviously, but I think something a lot of kids overlook is the physical aspect. They don't lift as hard as they should and don't run as hard as they should."
The wide range of Johnson's game and character were no more evident than during his team's 17-9 loss to Valor Christian in the state semifinals May 17.
Early on, Johnson absorbed a big hit that opened a gash on his chin. The cut needed Super Glue to close the wound. But in a fitting brand of lacrosse justice, Johnson punctured his own hole - rifling a shot so hard it tore the twine and busted out the back of the net.
After the game, his teammates voted the bruised, cut-up junior as one of three captains for the team next season.
"It was a humbling experience and made me feel kind of valued on the team," Johnson said. "We're all there for each other. We see when someone's busting their butt and trying their hardest, things don't go overlooked."
Johnson is verbally committed to play lacrosse at Air Force.