TACOMA, Wash. — The Lincoln Abes football team won a 2nd straight PCL conference title this season and they've also advanced to the state tournament.
Lincoln High School senior Gabarri Johnson is the state's highest rated quarterback and for good reason.
Over the past three years the 4-star quarterback has passed and rushed for over 100 touchdowns and totaled nearly 10,000 yards.
He has a golden arm, and fast feet, but Johnson says it's his mindset that's been his driving force.
"I think confidence is one thing, as a quarterback you got to have confidence, when you're playing quarterback, you've got to be confident, for your line, your receivers, and the whole team in general, even people playing defense. So, confidence is one and two is just being smart, knowing where to go, which reads are best, reading the defenses, knowing what the defense is doing, knowing where someone's going to be open, " says Gabarri Johnson.
"What makes him good, his throwing ability and his IQ, He's very smart, like he's one of the smartest people. Every time I come in on offense after a long defensive drive, I ask him what's the defense doing, what's going on, and he always tells me which hole and which gap to take, how to cut and I just listen to him," his teammate John John Nelson said.
Johnson has been playing with many of his teammates since the 6th grade, but his parents got him into football long before that.
"My parents started me early. I don't know how they did it, but they got me in a year early. So, I started playing in kindergarten and I just fell in love with it. I actually played running back and that's why I love just getting the ball and running through people and just scoring long touchdowns," says Johnson.
From his Pee Wee days with the Tacoma Riders to the Lincoln Abes, Johnson has always led by example.
He didn't miss one off-season work-out this year and during the pandemic, Johnson and other team leaders volunteered and rallied the team to help out at the Tacoma Rescue Mission.
"Yeah, leadership is definitely a big one. You've got to be someone that the team wants to follow behind and have their faith in and that's something I picked up especially here. Not just being the most athletic and knowing how to score but knowing how to talk to my guys knowing how to uplift people when they're down," says Johnson.
He had offers to play for the UW, WSU, Oregon State and Arizona State, but he decided to head to the midwest and play for the Missouri Tigers.
"When I went down there, I fell in love with Columbia of Missouri. Amazing town, the players on the team. They were all just amazing to me and I liked every single coach while I was there," says Johnson.
But before he bolts for the SEC, he's all about representing the 253.
"I've always lived five minutes from Lincoln my whole life, so I had to come here, I didn't want to go to East Side or Lakes or anywhere else. I just wanted to come play for the city and do something big for Tacoma," says Johnson.
Johnson and the Lincoln Abes will face off against the Monroe Bearcats in the first round of the state playoffs on Saturday at the Lincoln Bowl.