Trifecta: The Power of Collaboration

Everybody knows the stereotypical football players to be the “stars of the show” and the “kings” of the school. In the stadium, running drills almost every afternoon to put their all out on the field for Friday night. However, there is a lack of acknowledgement towards the significance of their relationship with their counterparts. As they work to come together for an array of entertainment during the FNLs experience: the football team, marching band, and cheerleaders display the ultimate trifecta.

We were able to discuss with leading, senior football players regarding their thoughts on the collaborative aspects of FNLs. When talking to them about the marching band, Sean Connor (77), starting OT/DE, felt as though, “They need to be recognized for what they’re doing… I (he) think(s) they deserve more credit.” And it isn’t just Connor who takes admiration for the marching band. Starting OL/DL, Liam Powers (75), states, “they are out there every day, almost more than we are sometimes, putting in a lot of hard work.” Such words demonstrate just how much the team respects the level of work ethic, commitment, and passion the marching band dedicates themselves to. There is an unspoken appreciation from the football team towards the marching band, and to the cheerleaders as well. They especially love watching the cheerleaders do backflips on the sidelines, in particular starting RB/LB, Ethan Shine (21), confidently exclaimed that he would be more than willing to learn for himself!

Seniors Patrick Keller, Liam Powers, Declan Kelly, Sean Connor, Ethan Shine, and Matthw LaBouliere pose with the peach bowl after a game win against Bensalem

Seniors Mckenzie Stephenson and Chris Gillis smiling for senior night during the East v. West game

Seniors Carly Bryne and Olivia Opie always know how to rep the East Side Pride with their pom poms in hand 🙂

On another note, marching band leaders Mckenzie Stephenson and Chris Gillis spared some time to chat with us about their take on the dynamic of Friday Night Lights. During our discussion, Stephenson informed us that, “it’s very cohesive; each piece is crucial.” Proving that every part of the trifecta comes together in perfect harmony, as Gillis states, “it’s like a puzzle piece; it fits in where it should be.” All three groups are contributors to the experience, and without one of them, it wouldn’t hold be the same.

Despite the stereotypical prototype of a band kid portrayed in movies and social media, both leaders strongly feel it’s inaccurate, but Stephenson promotes to “embrace your weirdness.” This stereotype has fed into the lack of appreciation from the student section, but it doesn’t stop the marching band and color guard from continuing to put on incredible performances that perfectly compliment and accent the talents of their counterparts as well as their own. With a smile, Gillis remarked that, “if we didn’t have cheerleaders, it would just be the band playing, which by itself can be loud and obnoxious. And seeing them dance and doing flips in the air is pretty cool.”

Cheerleading is a major aspect of football games and in terms of entertaining the crowd, well they’ve got it covered. Reeving up the energy on the sidelines, the cheerleaders of CB East help encourage the football team in their chants and psychical stunts. But such elements of comradery goes both ways. Matter of fact, senior cheerleader Carly Bryne informed us that, “Every year…towards the end of the season the football team hosts a pasta party, and they give the cheerleaders flowers and the seniors roses” further demonstrating their level of commendation towards the cheer team.

“When we’re at football games and trying to lead the crowd spelling out E-A-S-T and the student section is screaming “DEFENSE” we can’t really hear each other, overall, the student section is a lot better than it has been…lots of school spirit…but appreciation for the band and cheerleaders needs to be there,” Olivia Opie, senior cheerleader, pleads. Moving forward, this is a wake-up call to the student body to be more appreciative of not only the football team, but the marching band and the cheerleaders who provide such an embracing, vibrant energy to the atmosphere of Friday Night Lights.

Even though the three groups face their own elements of adversity and embody their own sense of uniqueness, under the lights they come together as one to bring about the true authenticity of the moment. Providing memories that we will forever cherish as we move forward from our high school careers. With the season ending this past Friday, November 4th, we extend an arm of gratitude to all our senior football players, marching band & color guard members, and cheerleaders for making this a season to remember.   

And as for our most pressing question, when we asked WHO IS THE PATRIOT?  Welp. Nobody budged. Olivia and Carly simply said they’d been “sworn to secrecy”.