Bunnell High School two-way lineman CJ Newton has been in the trenches for so long he knows how to battle.
For a kid who didn’t want to play football six years ago, Newton now can’t get enough of the sport, even as the final game of his career approaches with Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day showdown against Stratford.
“CJ is a dominant defensive lineman or us and has made plays this year that I’ve only seen at the college level,” Bunnell coach Ty Jenkins said. “His teammates respect him, for sure, and his best contribution was working to become a better offensive lineman as the only senior among a group of two sophomores and two juniors.”
Earlier this week, after a Bunnell practice, the 6-foot-1, 305-pound offensive guard and defensive tackled went “On the Record” with the Stratford Sports Scene.
STRATFORD SPORTS SCENE: What’s the best thing about Bunnell High School?
CJ NEWTON: The best thing about Bunnell High School is the football team. Other than that, it’s just school and schoolwork in general.
SSS: If you could change one thing about the school, what would it be?
SSS: What teacher has had the biggest impact on you in your life?
CN: Can I give a shout out to two? (Culinary arts teacher) Mr. (Brian) Neumeyer and (English teacher) Mrs. (Alicia) MacIntosh. Mr. Neumeyer because he’s an outstanding teacher and a good chef, and Mrs. MacIntosh because I’ve had her since my freshman year and she’s inspired me in ways she doesn’t even know.
SSS: How did you wind up becoming a football player?
CN: My dad forced me into it and I didn’t like it. I was 12. He forced me to play and I stopping going to practice, but after a while, though, I started to see how it is and now I just love it.
SSS: What makes a successful lineman?
CN: Timing. Technique. Footwork. Strength, upper body, lower body.
SSS: If you could play any other position other than the lines, where would it be?
CN: Fullback. Definitely fullback. In my whole career, I’ve scored three times.
SSS: What are you a fan of? Professional football or college and who is your favorite team or player?
CN: I enjoy both, but I don’t have a favorite team. It makes me jealous. I’d rather just focus on the lineman on both teams, so I can see how they play. That’s what I look at. My favorite player, though, is probably Aaron Donald, No. 99 for the Rams.
SSS: This has been Coach Jenkins’ first year at Bunnell. What’s it meant to have him around for your senior year?
CN: He’s been a big factor. He’s a good coach. I can’t complain. The whole coaching staff has wanted us all to get better in the field and outside of the field.
SSS: What does the CJ stand for?
CN: Charles Junior.
SSS: What scares you?
CN: Not being great.
SSS: If Hollywood calls and wants to make a movie of your life, what’s the title and who stars as you?
CN: The title would be “My Life” and who would star as me? Myself.
SSS: What is something nobody knows about you?
CN: My workflow. I’m constantly doing stuff. Nobody knows what’s going on inside. Just see what I’m doing on the outside.
SSS: What’s your perfect breakfast?
CN: Four eggs, some grits and I don’t know what turkey butt is but my grandma cooked it and I liked it. That’s pretty much it.
SSS: Your favorite midnight snack?
CN: Oranges. Frozen oranges.
SSS: And your ideal home-cooked meal? Your grandmother’s turkey butt?
CN: (Laughs) Probably.
SSS: If you could become a TV or movie character and live that life or a day, what would it be?
CN: I forgot the name of the movie. It’s about a kid who found a check and went to the bank and cashed it. (Blank Check)
SSS: What one word best describes CJ Newton?
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