The Foundation of Football at West High

The West Warriors huddle up for one last break, after a tough and hard-fought loss to the Lawndale Cardinals. Varsity safety and receiver Dominick De La Torre (11) expressed, We do as much as possible to motivate each other to get better… whether its with tough love or with relentless positivity.”

Art/Photo by Christopher Huston

The West Warriors huddle up for one last break, after a tough and hard-fought loss to the Lawndale Cardinals. Varsity safety and receiver Dominick De La Torre (11) expressed, “We do as much as possible to motivate each other to get better… whether it’s with tough love or with relentless positivity.”

Kate Phan, Staff Writer

   A roaring crowd, perfect fall weather in the 70s, and the “Pink Out” theme: on the night of October 15, conditions were set for an amazing home game experience. Supporters of West High’s football team came out to cheer on the players who persevered to the end. The Varsity home game against Lawndale ended with a bitter loss of 0-34. Although a tough game ensued, Tyler Schlappatha (11) kept his head up.

  With a positive attitude, Varsity outside linebacker Schlappatha explained, “West High football has always been a brotherhood. It doesn’t matter if we’re winning or losing, the bond the team has for one another is endless.” The team’s relationship is important to the game and having each other’s backs helps them get through the season with pride. 

   Coaches’ assistant and water girl Payton McCarty (11) added, “Having done this job since 8th grade, I have been able to watch the guys grow from Freshmen to Seniors and see how their chemistry plays a big part in how well they perform as a team.” Their summer activities have also helped build this unbreakable bond. Schlappatha described, “All summer, the Varsity team would all meet up at the beach for an entire day and play [Spikeball] and beach football.” Since their connection has built up over time, the teammates are more supportive than ever during games.

   A high-contact sport like football can get rough out on the field. In negative times, Schlappatha noted that the team would “always look to our top guy Austin Jones. He’s a senior and has stepped up big time as a captain for us.” Having an admirable figure on the team like Jones is useful in improving attitude and gameplay. 

   After the discouraging loss against Lawndale, improvement will take determination. Schlappatha assured that Coach Butler has a plan to “help us play to the best of our abilities.” The team has “changed some things up, which will hopefully lead to a win.” 

   Staying supportive in the stands is also a big part of football games. Passionate cheering uplifts spirits no matter the outcome of the plays. Spectating from the stands, Ainsley Paulson (10) was ecstatic in the audience. Every football game matters to her because as a Sophomore with a COVID-affected Freshman year, this was her very first high school football season. She was very excited, as football games give her “more opportunities to add to the high school experience.” Paulson’s favorite part about the games is being able to participate in school spirit and spend time with her friends. She smiled, “The season has been more fun than I thought it would be.” Dressed up in light pink for the theme “Pink Out,” Paulson felt the energy of the football game along with the rest of the crowd. Students, friends, and family members consistently cheer on the team, which makes every game worth playing.

   Throughout the highs and lows of high school football, everyone knows there’s no “I” in “team.” Support in the stands and positivity and encouragement within the team is always appreciated and helps players uphold their determination throughout the season. The connection between teammates is the heart of West High’s football team.