Friday Night Lights have long since been one of the most emphasized high school traditions. The riveting football games, the cool night air, and the thrill of the weekend have united communities for decades, and presumably will for many years to come. The new school year has ushered in a new era of high school football at Casa, with campus Officer John Antonio retiring the badge and donning the headset as the new varsity coach. The new coaching staff has been a welcome change according to Varsity Captain and senior Miguel Robertson.
“There has been more of a relaxed feeling at practice with a less strict coaching squad which has helped people focus more. They don’t feel as scared to make any mistakes,” said Robertson.
Junior Varsity Captain and sophomore Robert Almond shared similar sentiments about the change in coaching staff.
“The new coaching staff is good because all of our coaches are connecting with the players and there is a lot more communication going on and connection between the three teams,” said Almond.
Albeit the improved chemistry between the teams, the varsity team lost on August 24, inspiring disappointment among the players. However, the season is still young, and Robertson sees potential in this year’s Varsity team.
“Based on the first game, I think we have a good, solid team. We have a good foundation. We should be set to have a more than mediocre season. We have a lot of talent, a lot of good coaches. Hopefully, we pick it up a little and get on the right track,” said Robertson.
The Junior Varsity team, however, scraped by with a win in their first game –– by just one point. Content with the win, Almond views it as a good starting point and expects bigger things in the future from all three teams.
“I think all three of our teams have great potential. Our freshman team has a lot of new players that, once they get comfortable, they can get to an achieving level. Our Junior Varsity team has a lot of skills, and we didn’t have a winning season last season so starting with a win this year could mean a lot for our team,” said Almond.
While both teams appear to be off to somewhat of a rocky start, it is evident that the positive atmosphere created by the new coaching staff and team captains is conducive to a rewarding season of growth.
Cheer has been a quintessential aspect of showing school spirit since the early days of high school sports. While the football players thrill the crowd with strength, speed, and skill on the field, the cheerleaders impress with their agility, stunts, and acrobatic choreographies. This year brought forth yet another change to Casa’s sports scene with the creation of the freshman cheer team. Freshman Megan Steinberg details her experience as a member of the new freshman team.
“For most of the girls on the freshman team this is their first year doing cheer or at least first year getting back into it; so for us, this is a learning experience,” said Steinberg.
The team will only be cheering for home games thus far but will eventually travel for all Junior Varsity basketball games. As a freshman, Steinberg shared her thoughts about starting a sport so early in the school year.
“I like that it’s at the beginning of the school year because when you’ve been coming out to the school all summer, you already get to know it in a way which helps as a freshman when you already know where everything is by your first day,” said Steinberg. While the freshmen are only now getting acquainted with cheer, the Varsity Cheer team is no stranger to pep and school spirit. Senior Eliza Chavez, a co-captain of the Varsity cheer team, shares her perspective on the upcoming season.
“We’ve competed [at Nationals] in the past before, but I feel this season is going to be good for us, especially because we’re all cooperative and we’re all very ambitious this year. This year I feel that everybody who’s on the team we all have similar goals so everything is much easier to accomplish,” said Chavez. When working with the freshman team, Chavez encourages them to not feel discouraged by the skills of others and to stay positive and enthusiastic to appeal to the coach. The girls all recognize that being a cheerleader is more of a responsibility than most think, as the potential for injury is high. Chavez explains the toll injuries take on the team.
“Injuries are a huge thing because everyone has to be very careful, since when one of us gets an injury, then it sets back the team a bit, so we have to work that much harder to manage without the contributions of that person,” said Chavez. Injuries and risks aside, the cheerleaders must do everything in their power to embody school spirit. Smiles worn during games aren’t just left on the sidelines; they are taken to school and everywhere else. Positivity and enthusiasm are key. The image presented by the cheerleaders is representative of the school; thus, it is imperative that the image is supportive and welcoming. Chavez explains the importance of carrying cheer ideals and the preconceived notions about cheerleaders that accompany their lifestyle.
“Since we do represent our school I wish for the cheerleaders to be someone others can look up to because people see us all around all the time in our uniforms and get an image of us,” said Chavez. It can become difficult managing school and home life along with the demands of that sport; however, this year’s batch of cheerleaders and football players seem to have started off on the right foot With sports picking up speed and a promising season ahead, it is safe to say this season will be one to remember.