Running back carries team by example on field

Jennyfer Tucker

The crack of the helmets. The smell of the freshly cut grass. The roaring crowd. The feeling of exhilaration as the ball crosses the goal line. It’s another Friday night in Texas and the lights are shining brightly on the field as senior Keandre Johnson runs through the middle, pounding out yards for a first down.

Johnson started playing when he was the age of six years old, switching from Brazos Valley to Pop Warner, while developing a love for the game.

“I like to hit people,” Johnson said. ”I like the excitement of football [and] the contact.”

Johnson is the player known to pump up morale and the team rallies around him.

“He’s made some unbelievable plays that excite the team,” running backs coach Enrique Luna said. “He fires them up to go out there and play.”

Transitioning from playing as a freshman to playing on the Varsity team can pose some difficulties for many athletes.

“[Watching] him as a sophomore all [Keandre] knew was to go full steam ahead,” Luna said. “[He] didn’t worry about anything else, but now he understands the technical stuff. He understands the things we ask of him.”

Being an athlete comes with responsibility and the challenge of balancing school, social life, and sports takes composure and endurance.

“[Keandre] is here everyday, on time, ready to go, and has to be told to get out of practice,” offensive coordinator Matthew Faldyn said.

With that mindset, Johnson is a great leader for the team and demonstrates how to deal with ups and downs.

“If we lose, I just bounce back next week and get better,” Johnson said.

Johnson is the type of player who affects the attitude of others on the field by the way he plays every game.

“He’s influenced our team by the big time plays he makes,” Faldyn said. “He’s a strong, powerful running back that’s extremely hard to bring down. He has a great work ethic and a great work ethic is infectious.”

Coaches Faldyn and Luna say they have enjoyed watching Keandre mature into the young man he is and they enjoy watching him play the game he loves.

“He is very unselfish, he could block all day long for someone and maybe carry the ball two or three times in a game and he wouldn’t have any problems with it,” Faldyn said. “That would never happen though, he’s going to [carry] the ball a lot every game.”