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Mustangs put in work at the playoffs

The OHS football team puts in work to make it to the first round of the state playoffs, but were defeated by the Ware County Gators.

Savannah Simpson
Junoir Chris Rodgregez attempts to run the ball in efforts to score a touchdown. Rodriguez made every touchdown for OHS during the game.

Sav Simpson, Opinions Editor

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With a defeating loss of 35-28, the Ola Mustangs football team complete their 2016 season, playing the Ware County Gators in the Memorial Stadium on Friday, November 11, 2016.

When approaching the game, the OHS football team ranked 112th in the state of Georgia and 2730th nationally compared to their opponent, the Gators, who ranked 46th in the state and 1012 nationally. The Gators had a record of 6-3 while the mustangs upheld a 6-4 record.

“I’m really proud of our guys, really, it’s an exciting time for Ola right now,” head coach Jared Zito said. Although the young men lost, Zito is extremely proud of how far the team has come within the last few months.

Zito wanted his football family to come out an play their best, which he believes to have come true after the game was completed in Ware County. With knowledge of the Gators playing skills, Zito believed that whichever team played best physically would win.

Although the team lost, the players have been taught so much because of the sport.

“Football has taught me how to trust in one another, to work hard and never give up on your goals no matter what kind of circumstances you face,” Senior and 55 on the field, Christian Graham said.

During the second quarter, Graham was down on the field after the play lost Ola’s possession of the ball, however; Graham got up and continued to play what he loves; he did not give up.

To Graham, Friday night lights are about the crowd cheering and the atmosphere of teamwork within each player on the sidelines. Graham considers his favorite football memory to be the first time the team beat Locust Grove and the field being stormed by hundreds of game supporters.

“Being with my team and playing is just an amazing thing,””

— Chris Rodriguez

Football means everything to junior Chris Rodriguez, number 24 on the field and scorer of all the touchdowns made in the game against the Gators.  “Being with my team and playing is just an amazing thing,” Rodriguez said.

Next year, Rodriguez plans to work a little harder with his team and make sure everyone has the mindset of returning to the playoffs for a second appearance.

When Rodriguez scores a touchdown, the first thing he thinks is to do it again, that is something he never wants to stop doing. After the loss against the Gators, he continued to keep his head held high. ” We get to continue the legacy that the seniors started and work harder in the off season,” is the first thing that went through the player’s head.

“Those lights send chills up my spine, it was a part of my life that can never be taken away,” ”

— Dylan McCloud

Football has taught McCloud that no matter how hard it gets, keep pushing, and never ever quit. “I won’t be letting myself down, I have learned to push myself,” McCloud said.

Last night, arriving to the stadium, the cool breeze made everything feel perfect in McCloud’s mind. After being down 28 after halftime, he spoke with his teammates and made it clear that the game was not over, that they still had a shot. “The stadium was erupting for us, and we came up short, but at least me and my team went out swinging. I will always remember those moments,” McCloud said.

Even though they do not make the plays, the cheerleaders hold Friday night lights close to their heart as well. After the loss, many football members, along with cheerleaders, busted into tears due to the fact that is their last high school football game.

“I cried so much last night, it was ridiculous,” Jordan Greenwood, senior and cheerleader said.  Greenwood will miss all of the band chants and when the o-zone would hop in a cheer with them. Most of all, Greenwood will miss ESPN being blasted in the stands and everyone pumping up to help the boys play better on the field.

With too many memories to choose from, Beth Miller, senior Faith Miller’s mother cannot pinpoint her favorite. “She has been cheering since middle school so this has been a bittersweet last game,” Miller said.

Football mother of Jake Nelson, Jennifer Nelson considers her favorite memory to be the privilege to watch her son and husband, Jay Nelson, both on the field together. Because Nelson’s husband is a coach and her son plays, she thinks it is super fun to see them both have a strong passion for the game of football.

“Every now and then, I can get close up, like homecoming, I got close enough to snap a few pictures where they were right there together,” Nelson said. “It is super intense right up there.”

Besides football, Nelson will miss the community the game brings together. “We are a family,” Nelson said.

As one could tell, the football players, cheerleaders, parents and more have a passion for the game played every Friday under those same stadium lights.  After Justin Lamar, junior number five, ran the ball in the last few seconds of the game, he ran out of bounds to attempt another hike of the ball. Bryce Lawrence, quarterback and junior number 15, was tackled on the last play of the game.

After the defeat, the football players held the game special and dear to their hearts considering that was the last time stepping on the playing field as one.

The team is already determined to make it to the playoffs yet another time in their 2017 football season. As it was evidently seen, the football players were proud of the season they produced, regardless of the score.

 

Senior Dylan McCloud stnads proud as he waits to meet the Gator's captains for the playoff game. McCloud was eager to begin the game, but also sad because it may be his last.

Sav Simpson
Senior Dylan McCloud stnads proud as he waits to meet the Gator’s captains for the playoff game. McCloud was eager to begin the game, but also sad because it may be his last.

The OHS captains line up and walk to the middle of the field for the coin toss. Ola won the toss, so the Gators had possession of the ball first.

Sav Simpson
The OHS captains line up and walk to the middle of the field for the coin toss. Ola won the toss, so the Gators had possession of the ball first.

Sophomore Logan Hutson holds his helmet high to show his support for the team as they kick off. Hutson finished the game with heavy emotions.

Sav Simpson
Sophomore Logan Hutson holds his helmet high to show his support for the team as they kick off. Hutson finished the game with heavy emotions.

Junoir Chris Rodgregez attempts to run the ball in efforts to score a touchdown. Rodriguez made every touchdown for OHS during the game.

Sav Simpson
Junoir Chris Rodgregez attempts to run the ball in efforts to score a touchdown. Rodriguez made every touchdown for OHS during the game.

Jared Zito, head coach, reviews the plays before instructing the boys to execute them on the field. No matter the outcome, Zito was proud of each and every player and supporter.

Sav Simpson
Jared Zito, head coach, reviews the plays before instructing the boys to execute them on the field. No matter the outcome, Zito was proud of each and every player and supporter.

Nick Stowers, sophomore, shows concern for his friend, Christian Graham, who was currently down on the field. Stowers took a knee to show respect for his teammate.

Sav Simpson
Nick Stowers, sophomore, shows concern for his friend, Christian Graham, who was currently down on the field. Stowers took a knee to show respect for his teammate.

The teams both begin the play and strive to tackle each other for their advantage. The outcome did not come out in favor for the Ola mustangs.

Sav Simpson
The teams both begin the play and strive to tackle each other for their advantage. The outcome did not come out in favor for the Ola mustangs.

Senior Tyler Jedding walks down the row of players and give some a high five. Jedding helped make plays and gain crucial yardage during the game.

Sav Simpson
Senior Tyler Jedding walks down the row of players and give some a high five. Jedding helped make plays and gain crucial yardage during the game.

Number 42, Logan Holloman, senior, takes on two of the Ware County Gators. Holloman busted into tears after the game was over along with his high school football career.

Sav Simpson
Number 42, Logan Holloman, senior, takes on two of the Ware County Gators. Holloman busted into tears after the game was over along with his high school football career.

Members of the crowd get pumped up when their mustang football team scores. The team loved to see the crowd get excited about the game.

Sav Simpson
Members of the crowd get pumped up when their mustang football team scores. The team loved to see the crowd get excited about the game.

Cheerleader Janessa Deter, sophomore, cheers on her Ola mustangs during the game aainst the Ware County Gators. Deter loved to be able to cheer on her boyfriend on the team, Daniel Elliott.

Sav Simpson
Cheerleader Janessa Deter, sophomore, cheers on her Ola mustangs during the game aainst the Ware County Gators. Deter loved to be able to cheer on her boyfriend on the team, Daniel Elliott.

Logan Holloman shows his passion for football by crying when the score board ran out of time. Holloman was greeted by his mother who was also in tears after the loss.

Sav Simpson
Logan Holloman shows his passion for football by crying when the score board ran out of time. Holloman was greeted by his mother who was also in tears after the loss.

Sophomore Clay Sumner is comforted by coach Bruce Fowler after the team lost the game. Sumner was very passionate about each play in the game and the devotion behind it.

Sav Simpson
Sophomore Clay Sumner is comforted by coach Bruce Fowler after the team lost the game. Sumner was very passionate about each play in the game and the devotion behind it.

 

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About the Contributor
Sav Simpson, Opinions Editor
Savannah Simpson- a seventeen-year-old and a senior at Ola High, I am the SGA President, a choir Vice President, Quill & Scroll President, and a member of other clubs. I am the Managing Editor for the Hoof Print newspaper. In my leisure time, I enjoy painting, even though I do not know how to paint...
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