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Being a football coach in today’s world is a complicated and draining occupation that has it highs and lows. Your biggest duty is to teach and motivate your players to become better on the field, and turn that into winning football games. That itself is not a walk in the park with complexities and other outside distractions that can happen; it’s very complicated to build a winning team.
That task is only one important part of being a high school football coach. The other part is having your players focused and motivated in the classrooms that way if the talent is there, it can send them off to college to receive a partial or full scholarship. Newton Coach Terrance Banks, in his two years as coach, has brought the Rams to new heights on the football field, and turned Newton into a respectable program around the state. But, he has also seen 14 players sign on Nation Signing Day to play college football at the next level, including nine from the class of 2015. That itself may be his biggest accomplishment.
“There is nothing like a free education,” Banks said. “That is the most important thing providing young men with a chance to get a college degree.”
The thing that makes Banks and outstanding coach is that he’ll be the first to give his players the recognition they deserve. Because of what they accomplished, each of those players deserves individual acknowledgment. It’s only right to do so.
Starting off with Steven Montac, he was a two-year varsity starter for the Rams. Montac, based off his freshman and sophomore year admitted that he didn’t think he would be in this position. He’s a somewhat undersized defensive back, but his heart is immeasurable. In his senior season, Montac constantly showed up in big moments for the Rams forcing turnovers to change games that led him to sign with Coffeyville Community College.
“I’ve got so much anger and heat built up because everyone doubted me and still doubting me now,” Montac said.
Joining Montac at Coffeyville Community College is offensive lineman Colbie Jones. Jones was a two-year varsity starter for Newton, and was key contributor to the protection of quarterback Romario Johnson. Colbie is not much of a talker, but he knows this means a lot for his family.
“I have been waiting for this since my sophomore year and I always wanted go up there and put on my hat,” Jones said.
Also on the offensive line, Vinnchenso Jengelly signed to LaGrange College. Jengelly is a three-year varsity starter, and was also a captain for this year’s team. He has seen Newton grow from his freshmen year to now, and appreciates the recognition.
“We wanted to win, and it took determination and hard-work to get where we are now,” Jengelly said.
On the defensive side of the ball, Lazarius Tinsley was two-year starter and defensive end for the Rams. Because of his quickness, it made him effective for Newton and led to him to sign with Limestone College.
“I have been working for [this] since third grade, so it means a lot for me,” Tinsley said.
Defensive captain A.J. Palomino is taking his talents to Southern University, after an impressive four-year varsity career. Palomino was three-year starter, and has accumulated many accomplishments including being AJC Player of the Week.
“I really enjoy this place (Newton),” Palomino said. “My family came up through this school, and I’m just proud taking its name out there.”
Sam Johnson played both sides of the ball for Newton in his one-year as varsity starter. His size and length led him to be a playmaker on both sides of the ball. Johnson signed with Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Minnesota.
“I feel like this year we did what people say we couldn’t do,” Johnson said. “We all came together as a team, and balled out.”
They always say things are better in pairs and Newton had that for the last two years with the Jones twins. Donta and Davonta Jones are originally from Chicago and moved to Newton right before the start of their junior year. Davonta, the younger of the two, was a huge part of Newton’s offense in his two years as a starter leading him to sign with Georgia Military College. Donta is a defensive back that helped solidify Newton’s secondary this season which led him to sign with Albany State. Growing up in the inner-city, it wasn’t always easy for them to make it to this point. They know how much it means to their families.
“A lot of people in my family didn’t go to college,” Donta Jones said. “A lot of people didn’t expect me to go to college, but I proved them wrong.”
“It’s just great to know that me and my brother are the first people to go to college in my family,” Davonta Jones said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Lastly, Nuka Yobo signed his letter of intent to Jacksonville State University. Yobo has been a three-year starter for the Rams, and has had success throughout his career being an all-region offensive lineman in his sophomore year. But, it was his play on the defensive end in this past season that led Newton to success in the state playoffs.
“I am really thankful for this opportunity to be able to go to the next level, and win championships at Jacksonville State,” Yobo said.
These players, better known by their coaches as the “Newton Boyz,” each had a key part in making history for Newton High School this season. The Newton Boys have earned their right to play at the next level.