The Student News Site of Omaha South High School

The Tooter

The Student News Site of Omaha South High School

The Tooter

The Student News Site of Omaha South High School

The Tooter

Coach’s high hopes drive football team

For the most important win of the season, Johnson said the seniors persevered and endured.

“You always gotta have high hopes, fella, and you gotta walk into the field knowing you’re gonna dominate,” said DJuan Johnson, special education teacher and coach of the South High football team. He said he always has high hopes for every season.

I sat down with Johnson and some football players to get their opinion of the 2023 football season.

All of the players thought that the team didn’t do its best for this season.

According to linebacker Ethan Haxton, “I believe that the team didn’t perform to its full potential this year. A lot of people didn’t want to put in the work or weren’t able to show up to practice.”

I also asked about who they thought contributed the most in this season. According to Johnson, “Leo Armas’s leadership supported the team by keeping the seniors on track and helping them trust the process.”

Haxton added that he thinks “one player that really shined through this year was number eight, Leo Armas. He’s a very versatile player, a strong leader, and gave us momentum when we needed it most. He’s a role model on and off of the field, and I can’t wait for him to help coach next year.”

Safety Oliver Johnson said that he thinks “Carlos did best since he never played QB and then became starter on varsity for it.”

According to Justin Henriquez Sandoval, “the best player on the team this year, I personally think, was Ty Ward. I say he was the best player on the team because of his work ethic and commitment to the team and his leadership.”

Fidel Favela Jr., wide receiver, defensive back, and linebacker, said “I would say our running backs – both Ty and Sage – had a good year, and we were a run-first team.”

Johnson said that what the team could improve on is more chemistry or team bonding. He also said that he can improve as a coach by using his time wisely and maintaining schedules.

I asked some of the football team about what they can improve on as well.  Haxton commented that he can improve on his communication with his teammates on the field. Johnson said that he can improve on his intelligence on reading the offense. Henriquez stated that he can improve on his knowledge in the game and improve his strength.

Favela said that he will hit the weight room and work hard all summer.

What do these football players do when not playing, and what do they do before a game?

During the season, they practice Monday through Thursday and go over game films on Saturday. During those practices, they learn how to perform positions and work as a team.

What do they do before a game? First, they gear up.

“The first part of our gear is the girdle, or the leg padding. Next, we have game pants, which go over the girdle. Now would be the time to put on any arm or leg sleeves, turf or athletic tape, and eye black. After all the accessories are the cleats. The shoulder pads and helmet go last in this process,” Ethan said.

Henriquez commented that when they go out in the field, they hype each other up before the game.

How do these guys prepare themselves knowing that they can get injured?

Favela said he prays before the game and then, “I just see what happens to let it play out. What happens, happens.”

Johnson said that he gets himself motivated by just knowing that there’s a chance that he won’t get injured, “and I ride on that part.”

How does Johnson prepare himself knowing that his team could win or lose?

“I don’t measure the game in wins or losses; I look at it as ‘what did I improve and what can I improve on.’”

Do any of the players have advice for future players?

Haxton said to “put in the work needed, and more, stay on top of your schoolwork, and try to have fun through the ups and downs. Even if I’m not able to, I want to see our younger guys have a good time here at South.”

Favela said to “give 110 percent, and don’t doubt yourself on anything.”


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Fernando Acosta Mazariego
Fernando Acosta Mazariego, Managing Editor
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