LESTER, Ala. (WHNT) — West Limestone senior Johnathan Garrett hasn’t let Down syndrome stop him from being part of the West Limestone football team, joining the program his freshman year as team manager.
“He loves football, he loves the guys, he loves the coaches. I kind of ran into him in the hallway and we hit it off and he’s got some fire and excitement about him that everyone can be joyful about. I felt like it was an opportunity for him to be a part of something so we asked him to come and be a manager and he hit the ground running and hasn’t looked back since,” West Limestone Head Football Coach Shelby Davis said.
“He means a lot to every one of us, he’s just a great guy to have around, very helpful, very humble, just brings a lot to us,” West Limestone Senior Quarterback Colin Patterson added.
He attends practices and is on the sidelines on game days, motivating the players through his actions and words.
“Hit hard and win!” is the saying Johnathan yells at his teammates.
“It gets us all hype because usually we’re all locked in and we’re ready to go out there and take care of business but when he says that, it just pushes us over the time,” said Landon Navas, a West Limestone senior wide receiver.
“A couple years ago I kept asking him hey what do we got to do tonight and he always said hit hard and win and the 11-2 season in 2020 we actually put that on the back of our spirit shirts and that was before the season and we ended up going 11-2 and so that was a real joy for him to have that part of it,” Davis added.
Johnathan sticks by the coaches, learning everything he can that he can then use in his future.
“A head coach! Coach Davis is my man,” Johnathan said of his future goals.
“He follows me around at practice, he knows my signals, he can tell you how to tackle and all of that stuff, probably better than some of the boys can. He gets it, he pays attention. Some days he thinks he’s the head coach. When we have dress-up days, I get kind of tickled because he gets my badge and dresses up like me. It’s just exciting to see him out here and be so influential on our players,” Davis said.
Win or lose, Johnathan has been there through it all.
“I remember him coming into the locker room after we lost a game my second year, he could tell I was upset, it was a game that we lost to make it to the playoffs and he came in there and gave me a big ole hug, said it would be alright and walked out, and that meant a lot,” Davis said.
“Definitely a positive, really want to win energy, he’s all about winning, always about going hard, just full speed,” Patterson added.
As the football season starts to wind down and Johnathan’s final season comes to a close, his impact with the Wildcats won’t be forgotten.
“He’s just like a brother to all of us. He’s always smiling, always happy about everything and everyone wants to go harder for him,” Patterson said.
“If you ask him he’s never lost a game, he’s never missed a shot and he never has a bad day. He’s just another one of the guys, you wouldn’t know there’s a difference. He loves them and they love him and he brings a lot of joy. For him to have been a part of the program the last four years is really special,” Davis added.
West Limestone will be back in action this Friday, October 14, at Central Florence.