By: Nick Gradney (@StatZ_G)
Get to know Jarod Johnson (@CoachJ_Johnson) of KIPP Sunnyside High School (@FB_Sunnyside). Johnson is a 2015 graduate of KIPP Sunnyside and although he’s been with the football program for four years, this is his first year as the head coach. Being an alum of the school brings a different level of passion and commitment for Coach Johnson. I see it firsthand everyday at practice and the desire to win and be great is definitely there. Johnson was a former quarterback of The Senators so he often works hands-on with sophomore standout QB Timonthy Carter, Jr during individual group time. However, that’s not all – Johnson also helps out on the defensive side and he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty by taking snaps with the scout team to prepare for a game. The culture is slowly changing under his leadership as expectations are starting to grow. Teaching every loss is a lesson is an underrated development trait that Johnson possess and he’s relatable to every kid on the roster. Coach Johnson isn’t alone in making Sunnyside a great program – his twin brother, Jared Johnson (@CoachJayyRedd) is the offensive coordinator with a diverse, explosive play book that’s made to create mismatches all over the field. Wayne Daniels (@coachWDDJ) is the defensive coordinator for The Senators, who orchestrates at an intense level and gets the most out of his players with an intricate, yet smart defense. Head Coach Jarod Johnson couldn’t ask for more dialed in coordinators than Jared Johnson and Wayne Daniels, two dynamic play callers with a winning mentality. Keep in mind that KIPP Sunnyside is a charter school in Texas and doesn’t get as much attention as the big name powerhouse schools. Fortunately, that doesn’t stop Coach Johnson from doing everything in his power to get his guys to believe they can someday get to that point. It shows in the details – such as game day fliers, social media activity, attention to field treatment and so much more. The players respect him and the parents are supportive. Johnson is very vocal about the focus of the team, which varies by the week. Outside of being the head coach of the football team, Jarod is also the 12th grade principal for KIPP Sunnyside so it’s highly impressive to see him juggle all of that responsibility as well as being a full time family man at such a young age. With that being said, he never cheats the game and brings 100% to the team every single second he’s there. The Senators are a very talented team and the scariest part is that I’m not sure they realize how good they can really be. However, The Senators went through some growing pains by starting 0-3 against tough opponents and dealing with the absences of multiple major contributors that caused the lineup to change. Now after earning his first win of his promising career against Rosehill Christian last Friday, Johnson finally can get the proverbial “monkey” off his back. The coaches, parents, community, alumni and most importantly, the players are buying in, the question is, why aren’t you?