Now the athletic director and head football coach at Adna High, Johnson knew his team’s season-opening game against the Spudders would be a test.
The previous season against Ridgefield, Johnson took what he described as one of the hardest hits of his life. It came courtesy of senior Burton Farley, a linebacker so big he wore a helmet sent by the Seattle Seahawks because none at Ridgefield would fit.
“Farley knocked me so hard, I went over the bench, over the water table and landed by the grandstand,” Johnson said. “Going into that game, we knew we were in for an absolute war. There were some really physical games back in those days.”
For four quarters, physicality and defense won the evening in downtown Toledo. When regulation ended, neither team had scored.
That triggered a “Kansas Plan” overtime, where each team gets one possession from the 25-yard line.
After neither team scored in the first overtime, both reached the end zone and converted the extra point in the second OT.
After the second OT, the teams then started each possession at the 10-yard line. They matched TDs in the third OT, shut each other out in the fourth, then scored seven points each in the fifth.
Toledo had a golden chance in the sixth overtime when Ridgefield’s kicker missed the extra point. Toledo then scored a touchdown, but the Spudders forced a seventh OT by blocking the extra point.
Ridgefield failed to score in the seventh OT, allowing Toledo to win when Johnson threw a 4-yard TD pass to Larry Kiser on the third play from scrimmage.
Johnson had more than endurance and skill working for him that night. He correctly called all seven coin tosses before each overtime, allowing Toledo to play defense first every time.
Johnson also correctly called the pregame coin toss. The odds of correctly calling eight consecutive coin tosses is one in 256.
But more rare was the game itself. At the time, it was the fourth-longest high school game in the nation. It stood alone as the longest in state history until 1986, when Quincy and Cascade (Leavenworth) also went seven overtimes.
The record wasn’t broken until 2006, when Bothell and Pasco played nine overtimes.
Johnson has been around high school football for 50 years. As a 5 year old, he began to tag along with the Raymond High teams coached by his father, Gary Johnson.
But the seven-overtime game remains among his most vivid memories and is still a conversation starter with fellow coaches and former players.
“It’s just something nobody can ever take away from you, like a state championship,” he said.
Osmundson also remembers that night and the stories that are still told decades later.
“A lot of people were there,” he said. “It was good small-town football.
The game, which started at 7:30 p.m., ended just before midnight.
“The kids were saying to each other ‘what did we just do?'” Osmundson said. “There were no losers that night.”