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Alumnus Greg Johnson named head football coach at West St.

EDGARD — West St. John High School didn’t have to look far to find its next football coach and athletic director following the departure of Brandon Walters. Class of 1989 alumnus Greg Johnson is ready to take over the reins and grow the program in the years to come.

Johnson’s love for all sports began when he played football, basketball, baseball and ran track for the Rams. He continued his athletic career at Tuskegee University and received numerous athletic honors, including Defensive MVP.

After coaching in Houston, Johnson returned to his alma mater five years ago. He spent his first two years at West St. John as a running back coach before transitioning to a wide receiver coach and special teams coordinator. He was an assistant on the coaching staff when the Rams clutched the 2017 Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Class 1A state title in 2017.

With only 23 players on the roster at the beginning of the school year, West St. John’s football program has room to grow. Johnson said COVID-19 has brought setbacks in the form of decreased participation in feeder programs.

“We have some new challenges. Our numbers have started to shrink a bit compared to previous years, but overall, I am optimistic about the upcoming season, as well as the full athletic program,” Johnson said.

He is confident the program will increase in size within the next year or two as the feeder program makes a comeback. West St. John is a winning school, and Johnson will aim for nothing less than winning district, winning regionals and ultimately taking home another state championship.

The Rams will be a young team this year from an offensive perspective. Kylin Smith and Donte Lumar will be a major part of the Rams’ offense along with Courtland Shepard.

“Those kids are going to have to step up a great deal for us,” Johnson said.

The offensive linemen will be led by returning starters Jacob Ellis, Le’Brian Bethancourt and Jason August.

On the defensive side, the Rams will be led by all-state linebacker Kailep Edwards, who recently committed to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. On the back-end will be Rams veterans Devin Hall, Kylin Smith and Donte Lumar. Jason August will also be part of the defensive line.

“We have a lot of young guys right now, a lot of freshmen and sophomores, compared to the last five years. On the defensive side, a lot of them are juniors and seniors,” Johnson said. “We are going to be competitive. We are going to be young in some areas. Our numbers might be a little down this year, but we are going to come to battle every week. I have a love and passion for all sports. I’m trying to bring that passion back to my alma mater.”