📷 Image courtesy Moriarty Photography

“The team is smaller this year with only 22 players, but this is a team that won’t give up.”

By Rayann Carl
The Odyssey contributor

SOUTHBRIDGE — The annual homecoming game on October 12th at McMann Field was a game to remember against Tantasqua, a long-standing rival of the Southbridge Pioneers. Following tradition, Southbridge High School had a spirit week with themes for different days, ranging from “decades” day to character day. At the end of the week, Southbridge had a pep rally the day of the game. The Pioneers were pumped and ready to dominate the field. In previous games, two players (Jonathan Cortez and Charlie Lopez)  were injured with concussions and could not play, but the Pioneers still had strong morale for the big win.

The football team has improved in not only their athletics but also their education and behavior in classes. The football team is no longer centered on just improving their skills on the field, but also improving their skills in life.

“Though our record doesn’t show it, we’ve made a lot of positive strides on and off the field. Specifically with individual performance and what they have to do to mature as people, as well as in the classroom academically”, said Southbridge Coach David Burris.

At the game, a variety of clubs held booths that helped to raise money for their different organizations. Foods ranged from walking tacos to tres leche. The wide variety offered food for everyone’s taste buds.

For many students, this will be their last homecoming game. Students filled the stadium on the night of the game. Students and their families showed Pioneer pride with face paint and our school’s colors,  as well as supporting their peers playing the game. The team is smaller this year with only 22 players, but this is a team that won’t give up.

“These guys work hard, and don’t give up on games when we’re 35 to nothing… that’s the biggest thing, we’ll never give up if we’re down 50 or 60,” said Southbridge Coach Josh Blanchette.

After speaking to Charlie Lopez, a player who is currently out of commission due to a concussion, we achieved a real feel for the team ethics and morals.

“It sucks that I can’t be on the field, it hits me deep down. I love playing football and being out there with my guys, giving everything I have. I’d really like to catch a win with them, and it sucks, bad things happen but you can’t let it hold you down, because there are kids looking up to you. You just have to keep going,” commented Lopez.

We all hope for a speedy recovery for both Charlie and Jonathan Cortez, so we can get them back on the field.

The game ended with a score of 24-0. Tantasqua won the game but the Pioneers never gave in or let their morale get low.

To quote Coach Burris, “In life, you’re going to have some struggles, and as long as you can stay focused and continue to grind, you can persevere through it.”

Southbridge is known for its unwavering pride, sportsmanship, and support of others. We may have lost this game but our story isn’t over now or anytime soon.

Editor’s Note: This is the first article from the newly formed Southbridge High School news publication, The  Odyssey. The Citizen Chronicle is working with Southbridge High School students to publish digital news about the school and the community from a student perspective.  Rayann Carl is a contributor to The Odyssey.  She is a junior at Southbridge High School. The Citizen Chronicle congratulates Rayann on the inaugural story of the newly formed student publication. Other Southbridge High School students who are interested in contributing to The Odyssey can contact Sarah Champagne: Sarah@TheCitizenChronicle.com.

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