Carter Johnson didn't get the big finish he wanted.
After tearing up opponents for much of the boys soccer season, the Skyview junior wasn't even a starter by the time the playoffs came around.
But Johnson's season was plenty productive.
He scored 26 goals. He was the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League player of the year. And, he was selected as the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Washington.
To that, he can add The Columbian's All-Region player of the year honor.
All of Johnson's 26 goals came during a string of 13 matches that started in the second game of the season and ended after injuries limited his ability to contribute.
Rest of All-Region team
Nathan Beasley, jr., Camas: Beasley’s 12 goals and 8 assists helped Camas win 4A GSHL title.
Rylan Berriman, sr., Mountain View: 3A GSHL player of the year. A strong all-around player.
Nathaniel Cheney, sr., Union: Midfielder was a key to the attack for 4A state runners-up.
Marshall Hartley, sr., Mountain View: First-team all-GSHL midfielder and leader for Thunder.
Pasha Hashemi, sr., Union: Goalkeeper was a big part of Union’s run to the state title match.
Austin Horner, jr., Skyview: All-league midfielder was a consistent force for the Storm.
Tanner Konkright, sr., Ridgefield: 4-year starter helped guide Spudders back to the Final Four.
Zach Pizot, sr., Columbia River: All-league midfielder helped Chieftains to league co-title.
Erik Powell, sr., Seton Catholic: 1A S.W. Washington MVP was a goal-scoring machine.
Tyler Shadix, sr., Union: A stout defender, and goal-scoring threat on set pieces for Titans.
Mitch Wheelon, sr., Union: Dangerous on free kicks, he played multiple roles for state runners up.
Timur Zhividze, sr., Evergreen: All-league forward was one of the top scorers in the 4A GSHL.
Johnson wishes he had help on the play that turned his season. In the Storm's second match against Union, Johnson was trying to reach a cross in front of the goal when he collided with a Union defender.
"Me being me, I didn't come out and get it treated. So that's probably where I went wrong," Johnson said.
Eventually, he figured out that the damage was a strained groin muscle, but there was a infected lymph node and fractured small toe, too.
Not wanting to let down his teammates, Johnson tried to play through the pain. He didn't start the Storm's bi-district playoff game against Puyallup, coming on only after Skyview fell behind.
"During the playoff game it still wasn't completely healed," he said. "I wasn't the same player as I was the first week of the season."
That player used his speed to pressure opposing defenses. Most Skyview opponents assigned an extra defender to watch Johnson.
At first, he admits, that treatment frustrated him.
"Now I can say thanks to (opponents) for making me a better player," Johnson said. "Now I'm a lot more creative and quick on my feet and I have a lot more ideas instead of just waiting for a long ball or just playing through someone."
Johnson credits said his success on the soccer field is the result of studying the game as much as it is physical ability.
"Over 13 years, I've played a lot of soccer," Johnson said. "But watching the game and studying the game and taking bits and pieces from other people's games I think is what's benefited me so much."
He watches the world's best players on TV, but also watches other high school teams. In late May, Johnson was in Puyallup to watch the state playoffs reach their conclusion.
After helping Skyview win a state championship as a sophomore, Johnson said watching from the grandstand as Thomas Jefferson beat Union in this season's state final was bittersweet.
"It was really heartwarming walking through the gate and seeing all the people there to support their schools," Johnson said. "It was humbling to know that it's not your turn this year. That just put the fire back in my belly."
- Scored 26 goals over a stretch of 13 games before injuries slowed him late in the season.
- Was selected the Gatorade Player of the Year for boys soccer in the state of Washington.
- Was the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League player of the year.
More about Carter
- The movie critic in Johnson gives two thumbs up to “The Purge.” He is not a fan of “Gone With the Wind.”
- Writing is fun: “You can express yourself and be creative, and show the world what you’re thinking in your head.”
- A favorite class: Human anatomy, though when Johnson was diagnosed with an infected lymph node, his understanding of the potential danger was scary.
- Music taste: Gavin DeGraw when relaxing; Dubstep “or some hard rap or hip hop” before a game.
Next year and beyond
Carter has one more year of high school, then hopes to play college soccer. He plans to try out this summer for the Portland Timbers Academy. If he makes it, he won’t be able to play for the Storm as a senior.
“It was nice that even though my team was out of the state tournament, I was still able to represent Skyview.”
On his reaction to being named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Washington