High School Football Begins
The fall season is here for many high school athletes around the Silver State, with upwards of 30 football games being played, Friday. Those games are events that many schools and communities look forward to, every week.
The Hug Hawks varsity football team is one team that's hitting the road for their first game, heading to Fernley to take on the Vaqueros.
"Butterflies. Just excited to get back out there," Jalan Williams, Hawks running back and free safety said.
"Very excited that we're going to come out and play because we've been grinding since the summer and spring ball, and we're finally gonna play today," Sam Moala, Hawks Linebacker and Tight End said.
While many teams are staying close to home, others are heading out of state to take on opponents that they might not be used to playing.
"A lot of the teams do like to head to the Sacramento area or even further out, Idaho or wherever we got schools going to play games, this time of year," Jay Beesemyer, Assistant Director for the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association said. It's a good way for the team to unite, right off the bat."
Beesemyer says getting the fall sports season ready takes a lot of work, including lining up the referees. Each game requires a five-man crew. About 1,400 officials are needed to cover all sports throughout the year. About 850 have registered, so far, but more are expected to sign up for the winter and spring seasons.
"You need numbers and right now, we're kind of short for all sports," Beesemyer said. "Not just football and we're always looking for officials."
Many teams started forming months, or even years ago, getting kids from all walks of life together.
"It brings schools together," Carl LaGrone, Hawks Head Football Coach said. "Kids who never would talk to each other in the regular classroom are walking down the halls. They're teammates, so they have to talk to each other and interact and things like that."
"Some of these kids that I play with on the team, right now, I never thought I would talk to them," Williams said. "Then we got on the football team and we all just became brothers."
The Hawks are coming of an 8-4 season and a playoff appearance, falling to Reed in the semifinal. They are hoping for a 2015 return, but LaGrone says, win or lose, the game is bigger than what happens between the white lines.
"This isn't about football. It's about life," LaGrone said. "You're going to fall down in football. You're going to fall down in life. How are you going to get back up? You know, make better decisions or learn from your mistakes that you made."