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Farmers' Harvest

Setting standard of excellence

Farmers make history by clinching spot in playoffs

Senior+Kwentin+Huddleston+%2874%29+lifts+senior+Josh+Lockhart+%2820%29+into+the+air+to+celebrate+a+touchdown+at+the+home+game+against+Hebron+on+Friday%2C+Nov.+2.+This+touchdown+put+the+overall+score+at+27-14.
Senior Kwentin Huddleston (74) lifts senior Josh Lockhart (20) into the air to celebrate a touchdown at the home game against Hebron on Friday, Nov. 2. This touchdown put the overall score at 27-14.

Senior Kwentin Huddleston (74) lifts senior Josh Lockhart (20) into the air to celebrate a touchdown at the home game against Hebron on Friday, Nov. 2. This touchdown put the overall score at 27-14.

Photo by Alexandra Canizales

Photo by Alexandra Canizales

Senior Kwentin Huddleston (74) lifts senior Josh Lockhart (20) into the air to celebrate a touchdown at the home game against Hebron on Friday, Nov. 2. This touchdown put the overall score at 27-14.

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After a 27-21 win against Hebron High School at Max Goldsmith stadium on Friday, Nov. 2, the Fighting Farmer football team secured a spot in the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. The victory on Friday raised the team’s overall record to 7-2.

Advancing to playoffs is a major accomplishment for the team as it is a goal they have been working toward for the entire season; the senior players have been striving to make playoffs throughout their entire high school career.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” senior Corey Miller said. “We’ve been talking about this since my freshman year, and it finally came true. We’ve always known we’d be the team to take us to playoffs.”

Although the team is elated to have earned a playoff spot, the players don’t want to stop to celebrate this victory. They are instead pushing forward to achieve greater things and want to turn making playoffs into an expectation, rather than an achievement.

“It’s a great feeling, but that’s what should be expected of this team,” junior Covasean Pryor said. “We have a lot of district returners and all-district players; this should be the route we’re going. We should have a district championship under our belt.”

A contributing factor to the football team’s recent success is the coaching staff’s consistent encouragement. They have been pushing for success during practices and are now seeing their hard work pay off.

“[The players] see the value of the work that they’re putting in,” football head coach Michael Odle said. “[The coaching staff has] been preaching it [to them], and now that they’ve listened and they’ve tasted success, they can see it and it’s a good thing [for me] to see.”

In spite of this success, the team has chosen to set its focus on improving and continuing the winning streak throughout the remainder of the season. This mentality of constant improvement can help to push the players to the next level.

“You can improve every day out there,” Odle said. “I tell the [players] that we have to be a better version of ourselves today than we were yesterday. In every aspect of the game, whether it’s mentally or physically, we can get better.”

This year, a focus of the coaching staff has been to create a teamwork-centered culture rather than a self-centered one. Each individual player is encouraged to focus on what he brings to the table to improve the team as a whole, rather than what he does well for his own benefit.

“[The players have] an unselfish mentality where they show up, stay late and do the extra stuff for the team,” Odle said. “When they’re unselfish and sacrifice those things, they do well.”

Members of the football team have been dedicating time to improving their skills, as well as improving teamwork on and off the field. The unity among the players is proving to be a major factor in their recent success.

“I think everyone finally bought in to what the coaches have for us,” Miller said. “We’re working as a team now; there’s no more selfishness. We’re working as one.”

Odle played on the Fighting Farmer football team from 1993 to 1997 and was a part of the teams that brought home two state champion titles. He wishes to bring back the success from his high school experience and turn excellency into an expectation for the team.

“The culture of excellence and winning was there when I was here, and that’s what we’d like to bring back,” Odle said. “We want to expect to go out there and win those games.”

As the rivalry game against Marcus High School, Battle of the Axe, approaches, the players are gaining confidence and are focusing on winning the game. Although this game won’t affect the team’s standing in the playoffs, taking the Axe back would boost morale and provide a smooth transition into playoffs. The game will take place on Friday, Nov. 9, at the Marauder Stadium.

“I’m ready to go beat those Marauders,” Pryor said. “I feel ready to [win] and get that axe back.”

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Setting standard of excellence