A team is only as strong as the structure built around it, and last night Marjory Stoneman Douglas demonstrated the kind of togetherness that allows teams to flourish at this year’s 2017-2018 Football Meet-and-Greet in the school’s gymnasium.
Parents, students and teachers alike came together to welcome the MSD varsity and junior varsity football teams ahead of the new year, one that intends to build on the groundwork laid by the players and staff last season. The night also served as a debut for the MSD cheerleading squad. Principal Ty Thompson commended the community for being out in force to welcome the players.
“Sports always brings people together and it looks as though the community is excited for the football season as well,” Thompson said.
The night really began with the trademark respect given to both the national and state flags by members of Junior Reserves Officers’ Training Corps. Cadet Capt. Patrick Petty, who led the marching of the flags, spoke about JROTC’s role within the football club, remarking on the importance of respecting the flags.
“We always start off with a respectful color guard ceremony to honor the flag and help the students remember where they come from,” Petty said.
Senior Sofie Whitney delivered a moving rendition of the United States’ national anthem before the cheerleaders took centre stage to dazzle the gathered audience with the same style and grace that MSD students have come to expect from their cheerleading squad.
Teaming up with the marching band drummers, the women made sure they got parents and teachers dancing alongside them, giving the whole gym an atmosphere fitting of the fun-loving community spirit that MSD tries to promote through its various sports teams. With the cheerleading team having been assembled the football teams can look forward to plenty of support from the Lady Eagles.
Coach Willis May was optimistic about the team’s chances this year, giving a great deal of credit to the community.
“When they’re all up there—when there are a thousand or two thousand people up there in the bleachers, it’s like having a 12th man out there, and that’s going to push the kids to work even harder on the field,” May said.
Senior football player Tai Lehtio was looking ahead to the Homecoming game against Coconut Creek, and although injury will prevent him from taking the field on Sept. 8, he will be giving the rest of the football team all the support he can from the sidelines. In regards to the community, Lehtio also emphasized just how important it is for the community to have the footballers backs.
“When the stands are packed it makes us play a lot better, so it’s a huge deal for the community to support us,” Lehtio said.
With the players having been introduced to the world, the team can now focus on their upcoming games against South Broward and Coconut Creek.