All In With Nothing to Lose: Football 2012

Danya Issawi

The music blared and the bass could be felt through the ground and lockers. There was loud chanting and cheering that echoed throughout the locker room, and the smell of sweat was overpowering. It was a moment of pure elation for the varsity football team. They had just won their first game of the season and the idea of continuing their winning streak lingered in their minds.

The bar was set high by last year’s varsity team, having one of the best seasons in East history, winning eight games and only losing one during the regular season. The pressure for this year’s team to live up to that standard was felt by every player.

“We really wanted to meet, if not surpass, the standards of last year,” sophomore Will Mitchell said. “We felt the pressure from one another and really tried to get each other pumped before every game. Not only did the players feel pressure from one another, they felt it from nearly everybody else.

“Every time we stepped out onto the field we felt like we really needed to prove ourselves,” junior Will Short said. “Everybody wanted us to do as well as last year, and we felt pressure from everyone: the students, the faculty, the coaches, and the parents. It motivated us more to have the bar set so high and we ended up having a good season.

The varsity football team won five games and lost four, and they advanced to the second round of playoffs which they had not done in 10 years. That feat did not come without a few bumps in the road.

“We quickly became injury-plagued,” said junior Patrick Blackburn. “Players started dropping like flies and we even had some breakdowns from mental exhaustion. We started to worry about our chances in the playoffs, but Coach Sherman helped keep our confidence up.

In his third year coaching at East, the players saw him as an inspiration and a motivation to push themselves.

“Every day at practice Sherman would come out and tell us ‘It’s a beautiful day to get better.’ Every day we wanted to take a step at becoming a better team,” Short said. “We wanted to make everyone else proud of us, and we wanted to be proud of ourselves. I think we did a beautiful job doing that.”

The external pressure as well as the internal pressure the boys on the football team felt to live up to last year’s standards helped motivate them. They wanted to make their school proud of their team, and ultimately made it further in the playoffs than any East football team has in the past ten years.