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Hartselle Enquirer

Family affair

By Staff
Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame's Class of 2007 features 2 pairs of brothers
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
DECATUR – Former Morgan County High (now Hartselle High) football standout Preston Newman did nearly everything with his younger brother Johnny, before Johnny's death in the spring of 1969.
The Newman brothers were teammates on the 1964 Morgan County team, helping the Tigers finish with a record of 9-1-1. They were again teammates at Jacksonville State in 1968 – Preston the punter and Johnny the long snapper.
And now, the two brothers are linked forever once more – in the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame's Class of 2007.
Preston and Johnny Newman, former Priceville basketball standouts and another pair of brothers in Donald and Alfred Poole, former Austin basketball standout Rick Stukes, former Decatur quarterback Roger Ferrell and former West Morgan baseball standout Larry Keenum were the seven members inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Decatur Holiday Inn Saturday.
When the time came to induct Johnny Newman into the Hall of Fame, emcee Glenn Thompson spoke for a few minutes on Johnny's career and life and then invited Preston to receive Johnny's plaque on behalf of his brother. Johnny Newman died from a cerebral hemmorhage during Jacksonville State's football spring training on April 5, 1969.
"It was difficult to accept his plaque, but at the same time I'm happy that I could be here to accept it for him," Preston said of receiving Johnny's plaque. "Obviously I'd have much rather had him be here to accept it for himself. It was tough."
It was Johnny who convinced Preston to join the Jacksonville State team in 1968, allowing the brothers one last time to be teammates. Preston went to Alabama in 1965, where he was the freshman team punter, but he left the school after his freshman year to return home to work.
Johnny received a scholarship to Jacksonville State in 1966, and started all three seasons with the Gamecocks. His sophomore year, 1967, Jacksonville State was in need of a punter and Johnny suggested to Jacksonville State coach Jim Blevins to give Preston a call.
Preston agreed to come to Jacksonville, joining the team and getting the opportunity to play one season with Johnny. Following Johnny's death, Jacksonville State dedicated its 1969 media guide and season to his memory and also retired the No. 66 in his honor – it is one of only two numbers retired by the school.
Preston stayed with the Jacksonville State program, earning three varsity letters and helping the Gamecocks finish the 1970 season with a 10-0 record and Mid-South conference championship. He was also named the all-Mid-South Conference punter that season.
"This is just a great honor for myself and for my family," said Preston, whose father W.P. was also a standout on the gridiron at Morgan County. "I just wish my whole team and coaches could have been here because I wouldn't be here without them."
Also named to the Hall of Fame were Donald and Alfred Poole, brothers who played together at Priceville High from 1949-52, helping the Bulldogs win a Class A state championship in 1951 and finish as runner-up the following season.
Alfred is 14 months older than Donald, but their mother agreed to let Donald join Alfred in the first grade a year ahead of schedule. As a result, the Pooles grew up in the same class and on the same team – on the varsity basketball team Alfred was the point guard and Donald a forward. They also played baseball together at Priceville from 1950-52.
In the championship game in 1951, the brothers played a crucial role down the stretch in Priceville's 49-45 win over Curry. Donald scored 16 points in the game while Alfred had six points, all in the fourth quarter.

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