The MVHS varsity football team beat their rivals, the LAHS Eagles, 34-6 for the 10th time in 15 years this Friday, Sept. 13. Their record against the Eagles stands 10-5.
MVHS has won against LAHS for the last two years, making Friday’s win the third in a row. The team hopes to continue the streak.
“We’ve given a couple games away to them earlier, but the last couple years we’ve played well,” said Head Coach Shelley Smith.
Despite the fact that students from both schools know each other well, the rivalry is a strong one.
“It’s kind of a bittersweet relationship,” said varsity co-captain Mauricio D’Arce. “We grew up with all of them… we know a lot of people at LAHS from middle school. But at the end of the day, it’s a rivalry.”
The team stayed calm amidst the pressure. According to D’Arce, their plan was to treat it like any other game.
“We’re trying not to overwhelm ourselves with too much emotion,” D’Arce said. “It’s just like training.”
Varsity captain Trent Steffen agreed. “We play cool, calm, and collected,” Steffen said.
Besides daily practices, reviewing game footage on weekends, and summer training, the team relies on their Thursday night bonding to get close to their teammates and set expectations for the season.
“We have a team hype circle every Thursday,” said D’Arce. “Our energy starts building then and just keeps building until game time.”
According to varsity co-captain Andrew Bice, players are expected to commit to the team and share goals for every game.
“Whatever we say in that bonding circle rallies up the boys and that just pushes us to go harder tomorrow,” Steffen said.
The Eagles have also been preparing. They have a new off-campus coach that, according to Smith, “has done a great job putting the program together.”
“The team looks very organized,” said Smith. “We’ve definitely got our hands full.”
According to Smith, aside from the Eagles’ “competitive battle,” the team had difficulty practicing with the field lights and construction around campus.
“The construction lights are okay,” Smith said. “But they’re not the greatest thing in the world to play under.”
Smith attributes the team’s success despite these obstacles to the vibrant school spirit during games. Friday’s game being at home adds to the energy.
“We have a great relationship with the band, our cheerleaders, the student body, and 6th Man is just tremendous.” Smith said. “Having all these groups come together really makes a difference in how our guys play.”