It’s more than just a game

Camaraderie builds during football season
After footballs 54-17 win against Seguin, then junior Davis Kuhn holds his helmet up for the playing of the schools alma mater.
After football’s 54-17 win against Seguin, then junior Davis Kuhn holds his helmet up for the playing of the school’s alma mater.
Daniel Grant
Community support

The spirit is contagious on gameday. Not just in the stands but in the hallways too. 

It’s a sea of navy. With the cheerleaders in their uniforms, the football players in their gameday attire and the teachers wearing nearly decade old school shirts, everybody knows it’s Friday.

“The Valley is a very special place and has such a family feel,” history teacher Kesa Kemp said. “When you go to the games you feel not only all the school spirit but the community unity too.”

There’s never a game that isn’t packed. With the band playing in the stands, the student section shouting their chants and the moms ringing their cow bells, the energy is immeasurable.

Daniel Grant
Seniors Ryland Walker and Freddie Dubose watch from the sidelines at a football game last season.

“There’s gonna be pressure going out there every Friday night, but I feel like the community makes it easy,” senior and starting quarterback Ryland Walker said. “Win or loss, I feel like they still have our backs.”

And that they do. After Friday’s near win and ultimate loss against Reagan, the feeling of camaraderie was pouring out of the stadium.

“It is an awesome feeling knowing the community always has your back and is pulling for you,” junior football player Cade Spradling said. “Ranger football is so special because we all care about each other and play for one another.”

Student support

But it’s not just the players that make the game. Students in cheer, dance team, color guard, band, student council and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps are on the field every Friday night, representing all aspects of the school.

All the cliques disappear when you enter the stadium on Friday night

— Sydney Fountain

“Ranger football is so special because it’s a way to unite every single group on the campus,” Sydney Fountain, senior and Lt. Colonel of the dance team said. “All the cliques disappear when you enter the stadium on Friday night.”

As a member of the band, junior Ellie Suarez feels that unity every week.

“It feels like you’re a part of the entire game,” she said. “Of course we’re not playing football, but we’re cheering on the team in the stands.”

Daniel Grant
Juniors Chloe Schulz (L) and Madelynn Alfieri before a football game on Nov. 4 last season.

But it’s not just the students in band. The cheerleaders and the other football players on sidelines support the team throughout the entire game and keep the energy alive.

“As a cheerleader, it’s exciting,” junior Chloe Schulz said. “You feel the rush of adrenaline and excitement from the music of the band, the encouragement from Ranger fans and the determination of the football team to win the game.”

For Fountain, it’s an honor to be a part of a program that has such a long standing history.

“Even though some games are super hot and others super cold, it’s so fun to be able to be a part of the program and experience Friday Night Lights from a dancer’s point of view,” she said.

For Walker, it’s not just the community that makes Ranger football special, but the brotherhood in the locker room. 

“This team has been built since bootcamp last off season, and it’s really a family,” he said. “Everyone has each other’s backs. It’s really special.”

Kesa Kemp
Kemp’s kids pictured with senior football players Reese Anderson, Trajan Falk and Owen Hack at Media Day on Aug. 12.

But it goes further than that. The relationships they build with each other carry over into their relationships with others, and Kemp has firsthand felt the supportive nature of her students — especially on game day. 

“It was a hard year for my kids since my husband was deployed, and my now seniors took my kids under their wings, making them feel loved in so many ways,” she said. “They really look at the seniors as siblings now and love to cheer them on and show their support as a way of thanking them for all they’ve done for them in the last year.”

As the football season gets underway, members of the community eagerly anticipate every Friday night. 

“Ranger football always has its ups and downs,” Suarez said, “but I think it’s the effort of the players and the support of the fans that makes it top tier football.”

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About the Contributor
Bethany Mann, Editor-in-Chief
Bethany (she/her) is a junior and in her third year on staff. She has won numerous awards in UIL writing, ILPC, TAJE Best in Texas and is on the All-State Journalism staff. Additionally, she is a ballet dancer and performs in her dance studio's annual ballet productions. Her favorite past time is dissecting pop culture with her older sister. Bethany is looking forward to a great year!