Pep rally held to celebrate the football team going to state

Around 500 fans came to the pep rally to send off the football team to the Kansas Class 5A State Championship game

Kendall Gaignat, JAG photographer and reporter

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In honor of football’s second appearance in the state championship game, a pep rally was held in the main gym on Friday, Nov. 25. The purpose of the rally was to celebrate the successful season the football team had this past year and to encourage excitement within the  community in preparation for the state game on Saturday, Nov. 26, in Pittsburg, KS.

There was around 500 fans at the pep rally and both the Silver Stars and the cheer team were there in support. The pep band was there as well to help cheer on the Jaguars. The pep rally boosted everyone’s spirits and prepared them to send off the players to state and honored how well they have done this season.

Defensive coordinator Drew Hudgins believes that celebrating the team’s accomplishments has a big impact on the team.

“I think [the celebrations are] awesome. I think it means a lot to the kids. They put in a lot of work and to have it recognized and to have the support of their friends and family and classmates there, I think it goes a long way in showing how much everybody cares about the work they’ve put in and the accomplishments they’ve had,” Hudgins said.

Sophomore running back Cameron Young’s dad, Scott Young, is excited about the team’s accomplishments, and is glad to have the opportunity for celebration.

“This is just unbelievable for these boys and these coaches,” Scott said. “They deserve every bit of this.”

The overall season for the football team has been an uphill battle, according to junior defensive lineman Ike Valencia, but believes the team has persevered through a lot during the season.

“I thought we played pretty well. We battled through adversity, especially during that four game skid, but then we bounced back and played hard,” Valencia said.

Sophomore running back Cameron Young said that although difficult, this year’s season was still enjoyable.

“This season has been a fun journey bonding with teammates and grinding it out with them. I am excited I have a chance to help get these seniors what they want,” Young said.

The hard work of the players has been highlighted based on how far they have come during this postseason run. Hudgins is confident that the state game will be in the Jaguar’s favor.

“I expect to win. I expect to go out there and see these guys do what they’ve done all year, which is fight and compete,” Hudgins said.

Scott believes that the football team has worked hard to get where they are and is confident in the Jaguars winning state again.

“Undoubtedly, I think they’ve put in the work. I think they’re going to be challenged [at the state game], but they’ve been challenged every week, all year,” Scott said. “I think the coaching staff has been challenged all year, every week, to develop a gameplan to be successful and I think these boys have been able to execute that on most occasions. I think they’ll actually get it done tomorrow then you’ll hang a second banner in this gym.”

Hudgins believes that the crowd at every friday game is great for the team overall and really affects how well they play.

“I think our kids feed off of [the crowd] big time. Our student section is awesome. Our parents are awesome. They show up early, they show a ton of support and the kids feed off of that,” Hudgins said. “It gives [the players] energy and brings an atmosphere that’s fun to play in and so they want to compete in that environment.”

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