On Thursday, October 12, Sequoyah’s homecoming soccer game against Waverly took place following a spooky spirit week leading up to the Homecoming Dance. The team showed dedication and determination in starting a new tradition for Sequoyah’s first annual homecoming game.
The Student Activities and Spirit Committee ensured there was plenty of school spirit on display. Every morning meeting leading up to the game, there were announcements to hype the school up, and on the day of the game high school students, teachers, parents, and even siblings from the K-8 came to show support and Sequoyah spirit.
Co-coach Ben Moran has been coaching the soccer team since its inception at the school. He helped the team prepare for the big game, setting higher expectations and taking accountability for having lost the previous game. “We laid an egg in the last game,” observed Moran. “It was awful. We played really bad. I coached poorly, I didn’t prepare them and we did better for this game.” This just shows how much better a team functions with not only improved teamwork and collaboration, but also support.
“We had tons of fans and that was great, lots of families,” Moran said. “I want to give a shout out to all the teachers who showed up, and so many students walked down with the team. It felt good.”
The players felt a lot of pressure going into the game — they had won every game that season except the one against South Western (0-5) right before. The teams played on South Western’s field, so the opposition knew exactly how to play on it. South Western came ready with extra energy that day, while the Gryphons were more relaxed given their winning streak. This intensified the preparation for the homecoming game, so much so that co-coaches Ben Moran and Gabe Dahl called an extra practice. The tension was brewing and the stakes were higher than ever. Senior Aden Lopez stated that, “there was a lot of energy previous to our last game that we lost,” but noted the homecoming “game was really well matched.”
Sequoyah’s infamous loss to South Western also caused other issues for the Gryphons. One of its most highlighted players, sophomore Shanti Moran (who was the MVP for the team last year and has been crushing this season) got a knee injury during the game. Yet, he still managed to pull through. Moran clarified that he wasn’t nervous before the game, mentioning team members freshman Luca Lombardi and sophomore Atticus Affleck and noting “I know we have a good team. And can I rely on people like Luca and Atty.” He continued to give props to Affleck, saying, “Atty distributes the ball the most. We couldn’t function without him; he passes the ball.” Affleck overheard this and interjected, “Shanti’s the best player.” Clearly, the team is grateful for one another.
After the homecoming game, Affleck mentioned it was not only his soccer that improved since he joined the team. “Pretty much my confidence and my self-esteem [improved],” he stated. “Mostly because we’re just out there … dominating every team and that feels good.” For Affleck, soccer is not just a sport; it’s a hobby that influences him to become more confident, passionate, and proud. When asked what team member would deserve a medal for their performance, Affleck jokingly declared, “Me!” before quickly stepping back to say seriously that “the whole team … just killed it. Don’t know if I can curse, but I’m just, I’m just hyped up, man. That’s a big win.”
The Sequoyah soccer team has created a new tradition for future seasons for Sequoyah’s high school. Great job, Gryphons!