NEWTON, Texas (KTRE) - The name W.T. Johnson means a lot to the Newton High School football team; Johnson was the team’s beloved former head coach of 8 years, the man who led the team to back-to-back state titles, and an inspiration to the team and the community.
After his death in May, who other than his son Drew should take over where his father left off in hopes of leading to the team to a three-peat 3-A Division II state title run.
On top of the emotional offseason for the team, many of the starters on the 2018-19 state title team graduated, leaving many of the upcoming seniors with something of a chip on their shoulder.
“We get a lot from everybody, even people out of town,” said Zach Gulley, senior wide receiver. “It’s all love, you know? We just take it as motivation, and we’re going to prove them wrong."
“The kids see a lot of things that get put out there, and we did lose a lot of good players,” said Drew Johnson, head coach. “You know, they want to show what they can do, this senior class. But it’s a good group; once we get everything ironed out, we got a chance to be pretty good.”
The Newton Eagles start their season with two straight road games; the first at Kirbyville Wildcats, the second at Silsbee Tigers.
“It’s pressure just by itself, playing football in Newton because it’s a responsibility playing here,” Gulley added. “So, you know, we got a chip on our shoulder [and] we got a target on our back, as always.”
The Eagles’ first home game will be hosted in Week 3 against the West Orange-Stark Mustangs, a 4-A powerhouse.
“We have moved some young people up but once they get it all down we will be set to go," senior defensive end James Sylvester said. "" I’m pretty sure we are going back to 3-peat so whoever meets us [in Arlington] will have to face us. "