Webb’s Wagner and Johnson honored as BSA Eagle Scouts

By Steve Williams

Webb School senior quarterback Jack Wagner completed four passes to sophomore wide receiver Baxter Johnson in the second half of the Spartans’ first round playoff win over Evangelical Christian School on Nov. 3.

The last two of those connections covered 16 and 35 yards to set up Webb’s last scoring drive in the 34-7 victory at David Meske Stadium.

Another earlier throw from Jack to Baxter resulted in pass interference on the Eagles and set up a TD on the following play that gave Webb some breathing room midway into the third quarter after ECS had pulled within 14-7.

Yes, Wagner and Johnson were key parts of the Spartans’ offense in 2023, but they also have stood out in another important role off the field.

Jack and Baxter each received the prestigious Eagle Scout award this year from the Boys Scouts of America, whose trademark slogan is “Prepared. For Life.” They are members of Webb School Troup 757.

Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in BSA. Since its inception in 1911, only four percent of Scouts have earned this rank after a lengthy review process. College, business, the military, and community service leaders all respect an Eagle Scout.

“I have been dedicated to the scouting organization for many years and I am pleased to see all my hard work on merit badges and my Eagle project pay off,” said Wagner in the Focus’ online interview with the two honorees.  “I am pleased to earn this honor that takes an extreme amount of time and commitment while keeping excellent grades and being an athlete.”

Doing a service project is an important part to earning the award.

“For my service project, I re-landscaped the entrance at Green Magnet Academy in downtown Knoxville so the students and staff would have a beautiful entrance to the school,” said Jack.

“In conjunction with that landscape project, I held a children’s book drive so the students would have books to take home for the weekend and read. The project turned out great as we had many volunteers and collected over 300 books. I loved serving my community.”

Baxter’s service project had a similar theme and it too had a nice touch at the end.

“My service project was renovating a little garden that was full of weeds for the Wesley House in Lonsdale,” he said. “I cleaned out the area, pulled weeds and then I applied gravel on top of this and installed a bike rack.”

Baxter went on to say his experiences as a Boy Scout over the years have helped him “branch out more to people” that he probably would not have gotten to know as well.

Johnson also said being a Boy Scout has given him an “appreciation of the outdoors” with all of the trips his Troop took over the years.

“I think that the BSA has provided me with different characteristics that have laid a foundation of leadership and how to treat others,” added Baxter.

Wagner said by living the scout oath and scout law have helped shape him as a person. “Such principles as being trustworthy, loyal, friendly and helpful have translated to all aspects of my life,” he pointed out.

Jack also said such principles as “hard work and dedication” he has acquired by being a boy scout will be important to him in the future.

What ways are being a scout and athlete similar?

“It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to become an Eagle Scout,” answered Wagner. “It is not easy and requires a lot of follow through and teamwork as well as leadership to get the Eagle project complete. Similarly in sports, you have to work hard, be disciplined and show leadership to have success on the field.”

Baxter’s reply: “I think being a scout and an athlete are similar in ways of showing work ethic. As a scout, you have to be committed and work at things that you may not be great at in order to achieve your goal of Eagle Scout. As an athlete, you really have to work hard to be able to achieve your end goals and never quit when things get tough in scouting or sports.”