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Johnson leads Charles City to title

November 12, 2012

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, Matt Johnson will have a lot to share with his family.

The 1996 Fort Dodge graduate helped direct the Charles City volleyball team to a Class 4A state championship on Saturday night in Cedar Rapids.

Johnson, the son of Chuck and Marilyn, is the youngest of three bothers who are all head coaches at the high school level.

John, the oldest is the head coach at St. Edmond, and Tyler, is the head coach at Estherville-Lincoln Central.

"Both (John and Tyler) are in the early stages at their programs,'' Matt said. "They were both here (at the state tournament), along with my parents.

"Hopefully, if nothing else they can take a look at some of things we're doing and maybe use that.''

Johnson, who is in his ninth year at Charles City, has helped led the Comets to three state tournaments, two straight - along with a trip in his first season, with a losing record.

Heading into the season the Comets were tabbed as the fifth ranked team, but with only one loss on the season and a strong group, Charles City made its return to state.

"We had high goals at the beginning of the year,'' Johnson said. "As the season progressed we got more confidence.

"It was just figuring out how far we could go.''

After losing the first two games (25-16, 25-18) against No. 6 Solon in Saturday's championship, things looked bleak for the Comets.

"The girls just kept their confidence,'' Johnson said. "They just kept their composure and worked at it.''

The Comets had their work cut out, trying to dig out from the 2-0 hole. Charles City won the third game with relative ease, 25-14, but the fans were in for some nail biting action in the final two games.

Charles City closed out the title run with 25-23 and 15-13 victories.

"The girls were relaxed, considering the moment,'' Johnson said. "On Friday we played our conference rival Waverly-Shell Rock in the semifinals and I think we were more nervous for that.

"On Saturday, we were relaxed and made adjustments and played better defense.''

But for Johnson, who started his journey nine years ago, it was a great way to end the season.

"It was exciting to see these girls finish with a state title,'' Johnson said. "They deserve this and it's very fulfilling as a coach.''



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