Cheers echoed across the field as the seniors marched down the field with their proud families and a single rose in hand. The players’ names and jersey numbers reverberated from the announcer’s booth eliciting a beaming smile from the seniors as they made their way down the field for the last time.
Although the Highlanders lost, 28-0 against Birmingham High School on Friday, November 8, the Highlanders still had an emotional and meaningful last home game as the senior players were honored in the annual tradition of “Senior Night.”
Families gathered in the gym early beforehand to watch their sons suit up as they began their preparation for the final home game of the season. With a tough season that was distinguished by only two wins, the Highlanders welcomed the support from their families and fans.
As the parents proudly looked on, the boys intensely warmed up and received a pep talk from their coaches. Although they may have not accomplished their goals for this season, new head football coach, Tim Frost, expressed pride in his new team and their successful performances.
“Last two games I think we’ve done excellent, and I’m very thrilled with what we’ve done,” Frost said. “This last game in particular, I think our team pulled together like I’ve been wanting to have them do all season. I think we could be a very good team when we put our minds to it and we get everything going together, flowing, all parts of offense, defense, and special teams.”
Despite not winning their last home game, the players are looking forward to their first Division II away playoff game against Lincoln High School on Friday, November 14.
“I think any chance you get to play more football is great,” Frost said. “I know their goal was they wanted a championship last year, and this year they wanted to go there again. And if we get into playoffs we have that chance, we have that opportunity again, and it’s just up to us to take that opportunity and capitalize on it and become successful. Playoffs, it’s an amazing experience. It’s something to go through.”
In order to prepare for the intensity of playoffs, the team has begun to cut down the length of the workouts in order to keep the players alert and ready to go. Understanding that both coaches and athletes have other responsibilities outside of football, practices have been shortened to about two hours.
“We’re trying to keep the kids fresh, just trying to get them through things, because at this time of year, we’ve seen pretty much the same thing all year against other teams, there’s no real big surprises,” Frost said. ”We just need to stay sharp, focused and keep rested.”
With a league record of 2-3, the Highlanders hope to bounce back next week in order to progress to the quarterfinals on their road to the championship.
Frost has some advice for his team, “Stick together,” he said. “Play hard for each other, play hard for yourself. Sometimes, things don’t work out the way you want them to, and you don’t get that second shot, so don’t leave any regrets. Do that every single time you get a chance to play or suit up. Give it everything you got.”