Father/son duo lead Lake into new football season

FELTON — Coaching your own child has many benefits.

By nature, parents are already teachers so coaching a player whose abilities are known to them should come easy.

There are, however, some pitfalls that need to be avoided when a parent is coaching their own child.

Lake Forest quarterback Noah Feague-Johnson plays for the Spartans under his father Fred's leadership. (Special to The Journal/Bill Mitchell)

Lake Forest quarterback Noah Feague-Johnson plays for the Spartans under his father Fred’s leadership. (Special to The Journal/Bill Mitchell)

“Because you have raised him you know what he’s capable of doing,” said Lake Forest head football coach Fred Johnson, in reference to coaching his son, Noah Feague-Johnson. “The tough thing is looking at him as just one of the other players because you always expect more from you child.

“For instance, if he’s not doing things as well as you feel he should be, as a coach, you may get upset more with him than another player because you expect him to do things correctly.

“No matter what, it has been a pleasure coaching him because I’ve watched him grow up and mature into a fine young man and a very good athlete as well.”

Noah doesn’t have a problem when it comes to his father being the head football coach.

“When we are off the field he’s my dad, when I’m on the field he’s my coach,” he said. “I never feel that I’m any different than any other player on the team and I don’t hold myself to another level because he is my dad.

“Our team is already like a family and I have never felt that my teammates feel that the only reason I’m on the team is because my father is the coach. The only pressure I feel is one of making sure I do the best I can, which is something I would do no matter who the head coach is.”

Not only is Noah his son, there’s added pressure during the football season because the Spartans senior is also Coach Johnson’s starting quarterback.

“There is an added pressure of not holding him at a higher standard than I do the other players on the team,” said Coach Johnson. “However, I know he may have to work a little harder because he’s both my son and the team’s starting quarterback. The reason for this is because we don’t want our fans feeling the only reason Noah is our quarterback is because he’s my son.”

There’s an obvious mutual respect between Noah and his father when it comes to quarterbacking the Spartans offense.

“I trust him and he trusts me to run our offense,” said Noah. “He calls the plays, but I have no problem changing it if I feel it needs to be done and, hopefully, I make the correct decision.

“If I make the wrong call, we go over what I did and what I should have done just like any other coach and his quarterback.”

Last year was an example of just how well Noah ran the Lake Forest offense as the Spartans won the Henlopen Southern Division with a perfect 10-0 record.

The season did end on a sour note, however, when Lake Forest lost in the first round of the Division II state tournament.

“We had a great season last year and it was disappointing to lose in the tournament,” said Noah. “But that was last year and this is a new season and a season in which we are going to play one game at a time and not think about last year.

“Like last year, this year’s goal is to win a state championship.”

There’s one place that football isn’t discussed.

“One of the things my wife doesn’t like is for us to talk about football at home,” said Coach Johnson. “She made us promise not to bring football home and we have been pretty good at doing just that.

“There were a couple of times last year that football came up, but my wife quickly reminded us of our promise. She feels that it’s not fair that Noah has to deal with football at school and then, unlike his teammates, has to deal with the head coach at home.”

The Spartans will open the season at home on Sept. 11 against a Hodgson Vo-Tech team that defeated them in the first round of the state tournament.

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