Atom Smashers hope to build off 2018’s small successes

Johnson snapped 25-game losing streak, won two games last year

Smashers hope to build on small successes in 2019

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Two victories isn’t exactly a cause for celebration for most programs.

But most programs haven’t dealt with losing like the Johnson Atom Smashers have lately.

The team entered 2018 on a 23-game losing streak before dropping their first two games of the season. The skid ended at 25 games when the Smashers topped Groves 25-14 on September 7. Johnson picked up another win four weeks later, beating Savannah High 14-8.

For the boys in Thunderbolt, those two wins meant the world. It showed progress. Now it’s time for them to show how far they’ve come.

Second year head coach Kenderrick Bonner says just those two wins have done wonders for his Atom Smashers, boosting more than just their excitement.

“Our numbers are up now. Last season, we went through the year with about 45 guys,” Bonner says. “After two wins, we’ve seen about 45 guys just for the summer workouts. So who’s to say when open house takes off how many more kids we’ll pick up?”

Johnson snapped a 25-game losing streak early last season, and ended up winning two games.
Johnson snapped a 25-game losing streak early last season, and ended up winning two games. (Source: WTOC)

Those wins did plenty for the confidence of the Atom Smashers. The players say they believe they can win games, and they feel they’ve come a long way in year two of Bonner’s system.

“There’s people here that know the plays. Everybody knows the playbook," says junior QB George McDowell. "Everybody knows what’s going on, so that’s going to help us out a lot.”

“That’s been fun," admits Bonner. "Even though we graduated 13 guys, a lot of sophomores were forced to play last season. Now they’re in their junior seasons, feeling confident, feeling comfortable, and they’re ready to ball.”

The Atom Smashers say ending the season with a .500 record is an attainable goal, and one that puts them in playoff contention. Bonner knows that will be a tall task, especially for a program that hasn’t won at least four games since 2013.

But with a new found confidence from seeing some victories on the scoreboard, Johnson hopes 2019 is another year to build towards a winning program for the Smashers.

Johnson opens the season August 30 at Calvary Day.

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