There are certain high school traditions that we hold dear to our hearts. On Fridays, there is always a theme, a pre-game huddle and an unspoken rule that seniors get first priority to the lower deck of the football stands. At the end of the night, there are a dozen Instagram posts to immortalize this nostalgic blur of face paint and hot dogs. This is high school football.
The varsity football team ended the 2016 season with a 2-6 win-loss record. While the football program has seen both better and worse seasons, all in all, the crowd stuck behind them.
“We’re all having fun,” senior Brautigan Dubie-Gadsby said. “The student section brings a lot of energy and emotion to the game.”
Most players swing both ways, playing both offense and defense to compensate for the program’s underwhelming turnout. Dubie-Gadsby stated, “The numbers are always super low, and it’s hard to work with 24 guys every year.”
The football coaching staff has quite a positive reputation among its players, who say that Coach Leonard gets to know the players and encourages them on a personal level.
“Coach tells us what we did right and how to move forward,” sophomore Jahi Richardson said. “It’s one of his strong suits,” Dubie-Gadsby added.
Although the future athletic careers of these high school athletes is presently uncertain, many senior players are reflective of the time they have spent together both on and off the field throughout the past four years.
“It will definitely be weird not to be in the locker room with the guys and hanging out with them on long bus rides, but hopefully some of us get to play in college,” Dubie-Gadsby said.
Although the football program will graduate 15 seniors this season, senior players such as Dubie-Gadsby feel confident leaving the program in the hands of the underclassman that have proven themselves to be committed to the game of football.
Despite a long history of losses, the Axemen remain inspired by the challenge to win. Game by game, the program seeks to claim victory for the hard work they have put into the sport. Richardson is just one of the shining underclassmen faces who the program will be handed off to who says that, “We have an opportunity to surprise the state of Oregon because people don’t really expect us to win.”
South’s football program may shock the league in years to come as we see new recruits and underclassmen continue to build on the chemistry the team has together.