Justin Waltz hoping to lead New Boston back to glory days under Bickham

New Boston
New Boston rookie head coach Justin Waltz hopes to return the Lions back to the glory days they enjoyed under former head coach Ronald Bickham.


NEW BOSTON, Texas – It appears the well went dry in New Boston four years ago.

First-year head coach Justin Waltz is hoping he’s returned to his alma mater to enjoy the same type of success his coach (Ronald Bickham) enjoyed as the Lions’ mentor.New Boston

“I played for Coach Bickham, and I know exactly what he did,” said the Lions’ 32-year-old coach. “My plan is to get back to where we were. Our kids are going to do things right, and we need community support. I’m from New Boston, and I bleed maroon and gold. It means a lot to me and this coaching staff.”

Playing mostly juniors, sophomores and freshmen, the Lions finished 1-9 in 2017.

New Boston has nine starters back on both sides of the line, but will have their work cut out for them in District 7-3A Division I. Atlanta is coming down from 4A with a veteran team. Jefferson, Mount Vernon, Hughes Springs, Hooks and Redwater all figure to be in the playoff hunt.

Waltz returned home in March, recognizing his first task.

“We’ve got low numbers (50 grades 9-12), and we’re in a tough district,” he said. “I was at Tyler Chapel Hill last year and it was no different playing Carthage, Kilgore, Henderson and the likes. It is what it is, and we’re going to do our very best.

“I’ve inherited some great kids. I’ve inherited a program that doesn’t necessarily know how to work hard. We’re teaching them to work hard, and do the right thing all of the time. If I get that fixed, everything else will fall into place.”

Numbers remain low in New Boston

Despite the low numbers, Waltz hopes to field a junior varsity team, while playing as few as possible both ways on the varsity.

The possible exceptions include Deaundre Robinson, a receiver and defensive back. Javeon Brown and Kevon Thompson could split time at defensive end and tight end. Trentyn Morris-Hill, Trent Graham and Demarcus Smith could all line up at running back and linebacker.

New Boston’s plan is to operate out of multiple offenses and defenses.

“We’re going to put our best eleven on the field,” Waltz said. “I’ve been pleased with our work on offense. We’re in tune with what we’ve got in so far. It’s huge that we have success early, and it’s a real possibility because both DeKalb and Daingerfield also had coaching changes.”

Linemen Aaron Hill and Ben Willis are expected to provide leadership and strong play, the same being said for quarterback Tyler Strain and receiver Cameron Smith.