Johnston enjoys return to sidelines

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 20, 1999

It took Jackie Johnston a few years to return to Viking Stadium to watch a Vidalia football game after graduating in 1980.

And when he did, he couldn’t help but return to the sidelines.

Johnston began keeping statistics 10 years ago when nephews Dennis and Glenn Randall played.

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&uot;I couldn’t come to games right after I graduated because it was like when I was hurt and couldn’t play,&uot; he said.

Dennis and Glenn’s father, Ronnie Randall, was keeping stats at the time.

&uot;Ronnie got me started and I’ve been out here every year since,&uot; Johnston said. &uot;I just like being around it. And all of the coaches make me feel like part of the staff.&uot;

Johnston played quarterback and wide receiver at Vidalia from 1977-79.

Johnston started out keeping defensive stats. He’s been keeping offensive stats the last six years.

&uot;I want to see each kid get what they deserve,&uot; Johnston said. &uot;It makes me happy when these kids make their goals.&uot;

And he’s seen plenty of good ones.

&uot;Watching Keith (Woodside), Eddie Ray (Jackson), Joe Ray (Hooker) and all of those guys was a lot of fun,&uot; he said.

Another reason Johnston is on the sidelines every Friday night is his former coach – current head coach Dee Faircloth.

&uot;The main reason is to give back to Coach Faircloth,&uot; Johnston said. &uot;He gives so much. He’s up here 365 days a year doing something for the school.&uot;

Johnston admits it can be tough concentrating on stats and not getting involved in the game.

&uot;You want to holler, but you have to control yourself and pay attention to what you are doing,&uot; he said. &uot;You have to keep your mouth shut and your eyes open.&uot;

Johnston and his wife Darla have two children, Nicholas (3) and Madison (3 months).