Johnson was a standout on the 1922 Waco High School state championship team. He scored 231 points and rushed for 1,907 yards, 300 of it in a single game. Johnson was a drop-kicking expert who could kick field goals from midfield. In one season he kicked six field goals and 45 extra points. His greatest day of scoring came when he accounted for 38 points, but said his biggest thrill was the day Waco beat Abilene, 13-10, for the state championship. He scored all 13 points that day, including a touchdown, extra point and two field goals in the last four minutes of the game. In Johnson's three years at Waco High, the Tigers were 30-1-1. In 1968, AP sports editor and fellow Hall of Famer Harold Ratliff selected Johnson as "the greatest high school football player in Texas history." Johnson died on May 18, 1967, at age 63.