RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It was one of the worst seasons in Hermitage High School history, and on Friday the Derrick Johnson era came to an end after less than one year. Johnson resigned as the Panthers' head football coach after a 1-9 season.
“Today Hermitage High School received the resignation of Derrick Johnson as head football coach, effective today Nov. 2, 2018,” said Henrico County Public Schools spokesperson Andy Jenks. “We thank Coach Johnson for his efforts.”
Johnson did not immediately return a request for comment.
Johnson was hired this past February to replace Patrick Kane, who led the Panthers for 17 seasons. A handful of players transferred prior to the season kicking off, including star receiver Ali Jennings, who left for Highland Springs prior to Johnson’s hiring. Jennings recently committed to West Virginia.
The new era got out to a rough start, as Hermitage fell to Highland Springs, 67-0, to open up the season. That would set the tone for a rough campaign. The Panthers would lose the following week to Henrico, 68-0. They were shut out in five of their ten games this year, and topped J.R. Tucker, 21-10, for their only victory under Johnson.
Last season Hermitage gave up 149 points in 13 games. 2018 saw the Panthers allow 172 point through their first three games, and finish the year having been outscored 419-62.
The shocking reversal came on the heels of 17 of the best years in program history under Kane. During his tenure, Hermitage put together 17 straight winning seasons, 12 playoff appearances and ten campaigns of at least ten wins. He stepped down last December to pursue other professional opportunities.
Prior to arriving at Hermitage, Johnson posted a 15-16 record in three seasons at Matoaca with one playoff appearance. Hermitage director of student activities Chris Rollison says that a search for a new coach will begin as soon as the school gets clearance from Henrico County.