Mustangs kick off with a promising start

Ola’s varsity football team took home a victory against Pike County last Friday, enthusiasm for the season to come is increasing.

Emilie Castillo, Managing Editor

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The Mustangs secured a win Friday night, Aug. 19, in their first football game of the regular season against the Pike County Pirates.

The team faced a few setbacks throughout the course of the game including a nearly two-hour delay due to dangerous weather conditions. The game was then cut short to the end of the third quarter to stay within Georgia’s 11:30 PM curfew for high school football games.

Despite challenges the Mustangs played a hard game and started out strong. An early touchdown pass from Bryce Lawrence, quarterback, to wide receiver Tyler Jedding put the first 7 points of the game on the board. Shortly after, running back Chris Rodriguez ran another touchdown putting Ola up 14 to 0 before the end of the first quarter.

A field goal from kicker Yarik Sherling helped extend the lead on the Pirates in the second quarter. By halftime, Ola was 24-14 and things slowed down for a while as Mustangs played a harder defensive game. It was back and forth until the finish, and the game ended with a final score of 31-14, Ola.

Coaches had anticipated a formidable game from Pike County, and a win against the Pirates may be a good indicator of the season to come.

Before the game, Chris Curtiss, Defense Coordinator, said, “If we can come away with a win here, it’s down to Dutchtown, and we can maybe open a regional play with a good hard-fought win.”

Head coach Jared Zito said, “We had some positives and had players playing well and hard, but we still have a lot of things to clean up to get ready for the rest of our schedule. It is always good to win, but we must learn our lessons from the film and keep trying to improve each week… Overall, it is great to get a win in game one at home. I hope it builds momentum and confidence for our team, school and community.”

As far as building momentum goes, there is a definite change in attitude toward the team and school morale than in previous years. Coaches and students alike are setting high goals for this season.

For Moya Leung, Daejha Nash, and Taylor McHenry it’s a personal responsibility as seniors that pushes them to be more actively involved than ever before.The group talked about their responsibility to support the team and show underclassmen how Ola students display school spirit.

When asked what their goal was for the Class of 2017, Nash said, “To be leaders, to have fun, to make memories, and to do the right thing.”

This charismatic outlook on the year to come is apparently evident in the team as well.

“This is only my second year but it feels like there is a huge difference from this year to last year. There’s a sense of urgency and a sense of excitement… They come in every day with the idea that they want to get better,” said Curtiss.

Kyle McCreary, Special Teams Coordinator, also talked about the team’s willingness to improve.

“We’ve had a great summer and a lot of guys have stepped up. It’s not going to be really one guy above the team but a bunch of them banding together to hopefully put something out on the field,” he said.

Overall, with strong wins against Henry County and now the Pirates, Mustangs are making a promising start to the season. Whispers of shooting for the playoffs have come from students and team members, but for now, coaches have said they are focusing on fundamentals and the details of the game. Whether it be their shift in attitude or accumulation of more talented students, Ola’s Mustangs have shown they’re ready to up their game.