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Top 20 football video countdown: No. 9 Cottonwood

MURRAY — Coach Terry "Teko" Johnson spent just a few months with the Cottonwood football team, but his influence will be felt in the Colts locker room throughout the season.

A heart attack claimed Johnson on July 21 while he was on vacation. The former Mountain View coach had just finished camp with the No. 9 ranked Colts and expressed his excitement to his fellow coaches about the upcoming season.

His death leaves a void that the Colts will fill by trying to honor his memory with their efforts on the field.

"That was tough," said Josh Lyman, who was named interim head coach of the team. "We are dedicating this season to Teko. We're going to go out and win for him. That's what he would have wanted us to do."

Lyman said he understands why Johnson was so enthusiastic about the upcoming season.

"We have a great group of kids," he said. "We have a great senior class, great leadership."

Despite the promise of the 2010 season, Lyman said he hopes the players take more than good football skills when they graduate.

"We want to see these guys move on in life," he said. While some will have the chance to play football at the next level, the coaches want to see them continue their educations.

"We want to send guys to college," said Lyman, pointing out that all of the players participate in study tables and have support for their academic endeavors.

"We want them to make something of themselves, succeed," he said. "We want them to be good human beings."

Senior linebacker Anthony Lewis said the players understand and appreciate the efforts of their coaches — both on and off the field.

"It's life," he said of what it means to wear the Colt uniform. "You learn so many things on the field that you use in life."

He called the camaraderie of football like a "family, a brotherhood."

He said the school's small size (one of the smaller 5A schools) means the players have to put in the time at practice if they want to compete.

"We have to make up for it with hard work," he said.

e-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com