Katrena Faddis, Writer

Devils vs. Cougars! Our school has our rival just down the street and when we play them in a game, the stands are always full with excited students who are sporting their respective colors with pride. Maroon against Orange, with a football on the field.

We fight each year to get the barrel back at the annual Barrel Game, where even alumni come back to watch the two schools throw down on the field with everything in them. It is always held at Apple’s stadium, but our lack of field doesn’t slow down our team. Our stands are covered in our school colors, Maroon and Grey!

Students attend rivalry games in many sports, not just football or the basketball. Why? They also come for the excitement that is there, just from knowing we are rivals and the players appreciate it. Varsity football player, Anthony Palencia states, “Stepping onto the field and noticing that the stands are full of supporters puts me in a great mood for some football. My adrenaline kicks in and I just have a great time playing.” Michael Gutierrez, varsity football player, states, “I don’t play any different for a rival game, I give it my all and leave everything on the field. One reason being because I want to win the game and two because every game should be treated like a rival game because you have to beat them to get to playoffs.”

There is also the negative side of rivalry that comes when there is such high competition between the schools, especially in sports where the teams are not similar in records. Michael Gutierrez,commented, “I play differently when our stands are full because I want to play even better to show off to my fellow classmates to make them want to come to more of our games. When I don’t see any students in the stands, it sucks and shows how our school really isn’t about supporting our players in any sport. Seeing all the people there hypes me up.” Anthony chimed in on the matter and said, “During rivalry week there is an obscene amount of negativity that is said about the Granite Hills football program. For all the times we play against Apple Valley High School is a motivation for us to play our hearts out and to show everyone that we are not what they make us out to seem. So in my opinion we do play differently against Apple Valley as opposed to other schools because the competition is so high.”

There is also the other side of the rivalries when the school feels like we will win. “When people tell us that we are going to win it gives us confidence entering the game knowing we have people who believe we have what it takes to win.” Palencia said with a triumphant smile. Our school has a winning streak against Little Rock and as that game approached everyone got excited for our team and the win that they will receive on that Friday night. Michael commented saying, “It gets everyone in a positive mindset, which is what you need to have before a game, but then sometimes the negative is that the players get big headed, which causes them to be cocky and not do their best in the game simply because they assume the game will be a breeze, but then in the end they end up losing and that causes the players to lose their faith in themselves.”

When asked what to do to get more people to the games, Michael said, “Players should try to get people to go, but I feel like if more teachers cared about the football program and maybe gave extra credit to the students who show proof they went to the game, then more students would be willing to come and support us next time even if extra credit isn’t offered. We could also have more posters around the school about who we play and where, putting them where they will be seen by lots of students.”

Our players appreciate feeling as though they are supported, that someone believes in them whole-heartedly. “We as a football team play better than the students will want to go, but really just getting if we just have support from our parents and a few more students who want to support the team. Our school spirit isn’t anywhere near the school spirit other schools have in our league. That makes it hard at games because when we score we don’t have the same amount of cheers that the other school has when they score.” Anthony added a final statement by saying, “Having cheerleaders at our games is probably the best support a football team has. They always encourage us no matter the situation.”

Remember, our teams appreciate the support of their fellow students, so please have some fun by attending a game and supporting our school.