It's a completely different team with the same sting we're used to seeing out of Alto. Just by looking at their hot 4-0 start to the season, you'd never guess they returned just two starters on both sides of the ball.
It looks like there's a new “J-Train” in East Texas leading Alto to victory, as the Yellowjackets are all on board the Keenen Johnson express.
The Yellowjackets have their sights on extending their record to 5-0 and if they want to stay on course to an undefeated season, all they got to do is buckle up on the J-Train.
Johnson is the director of this train car, and seems to be conducting with ease as the rushing leader in all of East Texas. In just four games, the quarterback has run for more than 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“It's definitely nice having him out on the football field and doing some of the things he does,” said Alto head coach Paul Gould. “If a play breaks down or something like that, he's athletic enough to get us out of a bad play.”
“I just had a goal and I'm just striving to work and get that. It's just a blessing to be where I am now,” said Johnson.
Johnson's the type of player who's actions speak for him. However, as a senior who only had one returning starter by his side this year, the coaches relayed to the quarterback he'd have to be a vocal leader too.
“He really had to start talking a little bit. It took us a little while and took him a little while. It's not really his character. He's not the guy who’s going to talk a lot,” said Gould.
Johnson has stepped out his comfort zone, and has even developed into a coach on the field for his younger teammates.
“With us being young, if a receiver lines up in the wrong spot he can get them in the right spot,” said Gould. “He’s embraced the role and he's doing a real good job.”
‘They've done a great job filling big shoes. They had a big task coming in this year, nobody expected them to do anything and they're proving them all wrong,” said Johnson.
Any doubters at this point have been silenced.
Alto has been voted the No. 1 ranked team for Class 2A Division I, Region III by the Texas High School Coaches Association for four consecutive weeks.
The Yellowjackets have proven those votes credible by outscoring opponents by an average of 29 points per game.
“They're not selfish. We're all headed in the same direction. No one's above the team and we all just want to go win a state championship,” said Johnson.
Alto will be hosting Tenaha this Friday starting at 7:30 p.m.
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