Pushing for progress

Football team to open season on Friday, Aug. 30 against Grand Prairie


Valerie Benzinger

Junior quarterback Landon Webster (7) prepares to throw the ball at the home scrimmage against The Colony on Thursday, Aug. 22.

Following an overall record of [9-3] last season, the Fighting Farmer football team hopes to improve upon its successes and grow as a team as it enters the 2019 season. The coaching staff will keep the core values and systems of the team intact and looks to further develop the players’ drive through employing a new strategy of motivation.

“Last year, it was about the belief, hope and knowing that we can do this,” head football coach Michael Odle said. “I felt like the kids bought in, but [when] it actually happened, they really truly believed it. Now it’s about grounding them and making sure they’re still putting in the work. You want them to have the mentality of ‘we’re gonna win and we’re gonna be successful,’ but at the same time, we have to put that work in.”

After making it to playoffs last year, the football team strives for equal success this year from the start of the season to the end. The team wishes to live up to the expectations set for them from last year.

“We set [expectations] pretty high last year,” senior center Spencer Nielsen said. “Playoffs was a really big thing for us as a whole, but we just have to remember that we can do that again.”

On Thursday, Aug. 22, the team faced off against The Colony Cougars in a scrimmage. Despite not keeping an official score, the players saw the match as an opportunity to realize their weaknesses and learn where they need to grow as individuals.

We definitely have the ability to go as far as we did last year, if not farther, but we just have to mentally be ready for each week.”

— senior middle linebacker Luke Halter

“We have a lot of younger guys and last Thursday was kind of like a wake-up call,” senior middle linebacker Luke Halter said. “We didn’t do as well as we wanted to. It was good for guys to get used to the speed of a real varsity game. I think it was actually better that we didn’t do great because if we had done amazing, everyone would’ve thought we were fine. We can kind of see where we need to put in the work. I think it was really good for us.”

The players see the start of a new season as an opportunity for growth as individuals and a team. As the season progresses, the team plans to develop strong bonds and relationships on and off the field.

“I look at it as it being a completely new year,” Nielsen said. “Obviously a lot of our pretty good players left but I think we do have a lot of potential to get together as a team and learn to work more efficiently.”

As they approach the first seasonal game against the Grand Prairie Gophers, the players look to cater their strategies to their opponents. This will allow for them to focus during the game and play at their best.

“[We need to] be able to have fun, but also be serious in order to prepare for each team,” Halter said. “We definitely have the ability to go as far as we did last year, if not farther, but we just have to mentally be ready for each week.”

The first official game of the season will be on Friday, Aug. 30, at the Max Goldsmith Stadium. As the season kicks off, the coaching staff expects there to be fears regarding the outcome of the game but will encourage the players to push forward.

“We’re excited to open up at home,” Odle said. “It’s the first game, so there’s a lot of nerves. There’s gonna be mistakes, but you gotta take care of the football and play hard.”