Newton ring ceremony brings on an hour of raw emotion from players, former coach

Newton ring ceremony brings on an hour of raw emotion from players, former coach

NEWTON, TX (KTRE) - Retired Newton head football coach W.T. Johnston said he thinks God still has more things in store for him.

“I think the Lord still has some things he wants me to do,” Johnston said. “I don’t think winning the state championship is all he had for me to do.”

Johnston said that statement confidently after spending an hour on stage presenting his players and other community members with gifts and state championship rings.

The Eagles were able to beat a tough Canadian team 21-16 at AT&T Stadium on December 19 for the Texas UIL 3A DII State Championship. It was the second in a row for W.T. Johnston and his players.

Johntson retired from his role as the head football coach of the Newton Eagles about a month ago. He is battling chronic lung disease, and blindness is setting in for him as well.

“You can’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself. Feeling sorry for yourself is not going to make your blindness go away or your lung problems go away. I get down at night. I am no different than anybody else. Late at night when it is just me I get down. I pray a lot. I bet 70 % of the day I am talking about the Lord. That is how I find my strength.”

The moments were short but each player was talked to by coach as their pictures with their rings were taken.

“He talked to us the other day in the locker room,” senior Caiden Walker said. “He told us some stuff. He talked to me several times individually. Up there he just told me not to forget what he has told me before. It makes me happy just being able to sit down and just be me an him before I leave.”

Each player has their own story.

“On or off the field he helped me with little things,” senior James Sylvester said. “He has helped me to be the best as I grow up and go off in the world by myself and I really love him for that. He has been a father to us that have dads and those that don’t. He means a lot to this town. He tries to be there for anyone.”

“He encourages us to live a better life and learn from the mistakes," senior Darwin Barlow said. “Most people think all we talk about is football but from him it is life lessons and football comes afterward. I am thankful for the relationship he let us build with him and for him sharing his knowledge with us to become Godly men.”

The players love their coach but they know it is more than just in the locker room where Johnston cares. Johnston influences spreads across the town that he first came to in 1991.

“I first met coach Johnston in 1991 when I was a senior here,” Newton assistant principal Tabor Westbrook said. “There is a picture of him next to fighter in the dictionary. He has overcome everything they said he wouldn’t. We appreciate the good Lord for giving him to us for the time he has.”

Johnston is not sure how much time he has left but is is hopeful he can somehow talk to others about his life or even preach.

WEBXTRA: Retired Newton head football coach speaks about his future

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