Leaning over, members of the student section high-five Cooper Case 24 and Josiah Kent 25 as they walk off the field after their victory. The game was the Warriors fifth win this season, coming off of a 26-21 loss to Vista Ridge last week.
Leaning over, members of the student section high-five Cooper Case ’24 and Josiah Kent ’25 as they walk off the field after their victory. The game was the Warriors’ fifth win this season, coming off of a 26-21 loss to Vista Ridge last week.
Ellen Chuo

Varsity Football Secures Victory Over McNeil 17-14 on Homecoming

On Friday, Oct. 13, Varsity Football took the field against district rivals the McNeil Mavericks in a much anticipated Homecoming game for the Warriors. Following years of unlucky Homecoming nights, the Warriors looked to avoid an upset versus the 3-3 Mavericks and give their packed student section something to celebrate. Although a close game, the Warriors were able to do just that, beating out the Mavericks in a defensive dogfight, winning 17-14, and improving their record to 5-2 on the year.

“I’m excited that our kids finally won a close one,” Warrior Head Coach Anthony Wood said. “We knew it was going to be a hard game, McNeil has a great football team, and for us to come through and win it when we needed to, it was a great win.”

A slew of runs up the middle by Demani Stewart ‘24 broke away from the Maverick defense on a third down, opening the game and bringing the Warriors straight down into the red zone at the 10-yard line. After runs on first and second down, the Warriors finally punched it in on the opening drive with a pass in the back of the endzone to Lane Wood ‘24, giving the Warriors a 7-0 lead with 6:05 left in the quarter.

“It felt great to start off the game on the first drive with a touchdown,” Lane Wood said. “It was just amazing to start the flow of the game.”

Looking to match the intensity and success of the offense on their opening drive, the Warrior defense held the Mavericks to a punt on their first offensive possession after two straight run-stops from Henry Kubelka ‘24, giving Westwood the ball right back with 2:53 left in the first quarter. Aiming to take command of the game and pushing for a 14-0 lead with more pow

erful downhill runs from Stewart, the Warriors were set up in McNeil territory. However, three defensive stops by the Maverick defense left Coach Wood with the choice of kicking a long field goal, going for it on fourth and five, or kicking a punt. He elected to punt,

giving the Mavericks the ball back with 43 seconds left in the first quarter.

Westwood started the second quarter on defense, with the Mavericks looking to strike back to the Warriors’ opening touchdown with one of their own. 17 seconds into the second quarter, the Maverick offense stormed down the field with a huge breakaway run, setting up inside the Warrior 20-yard line. Running the same formation during the next play, they thrashed their way into the endzone, leaving Westwood defenders scrambling with the game tied 7-7. The rest of the first half was a defensive battle with turnovers by both teams, including a fumble in the endzone by the Mavericks that would have given them the lead with 2:37 left in the half. With little time left in the half, the Warriors were determined to break the tie, starting strong with a long first down run by Stewart, before a misplaced throw led to an interception in Warrior territory with 1:23 left in the half, giving McNeil the chance to brea

k the tie. Luckily for the Warriors, the defensive prowess of Caius Coy ‘25 put a stop to the Mavericks’ attack, and the score remained tied 7-7 going into halftime.

Giving the crowded stands something to enjoy during the break in action, halftime Homecoming festivities started with a joint dance routine between the SunDancers and the McNeil Majestics. Once performances had concluded, the much anticipated presentation of Homecoming royalty commenced, as nominees made their way down the 50-yard line and took their places on the field, with seniors Simryn Jacob and Emily Collins being crowned Homecoming royalty.

The second half opened with a bang, as the Mavericks fumbled the ball on the opening kickoff and Abe Whitley ‘25 scooped it up in Maverick territory. However, the ideal starting field position would go to waste as the Warriors failed to convert on third down, missing a field goal to take the lead giving the ball right back to the Mavericks. The Warriors’ defense picked up

exactly where they left off in the first half, with Coy helping the Warriors force a punt to give their offense another chance to go down and take the lead. The Maverick defense held strong and Westwood punted the ball right back after a three-and-out, and after a few more back and forth defensive strops with Whitley picking up his second fumble of the day, the score would remain tied 7-7 going into the fourth quarter.

Both teams looked to break the defensive gridlock in the fourth quarter. After an interception snagged by Josh Hanson ‘26, a long methodical drive from Stewart, and a huge third and 14 pass to Drew Norrell ‘26 to extend their Warriors’ drive, Stewart found the endzone, putting the Warriors up 14-7 with just 3:52 left in the game. However, following a huge pass downfield to set the Mavericks up in Westwood territory, the Mavericks found themselves knocking on the door of tying the game. Going on to do so in the next play, the Mavericks scored within a minute, with 3:28 left in the game. With time running out, the Warriors needed to put together a scoring drive. Despite great field position set up following an 80-yard kickoff return by Scott Uffelman ‘25, the Warriors were unable to punch the ball in the endzone, electing to take the field goal, and going up 17-14 with just two minutes left on the clock.

“Scott has had some great returns all year long,” Coach Wood said. “So we believe in our kickoff return team, and we told them to go take this one out and give us our lead back,’ and they just about did it.”

The final drive of the game saw Westwood fans on the edge of their seats as the Mavericks were determined to drive down the field and tie the game. After multiple mid-range passes over the middle, Warrior defense found themselves with less room to maneuver around, and needed to come up with a stop to ensure a Homecoming night win. With just 22 seconds left in the game, and with McNeil out of timeouts, Whitley came up with an interception off of a tipped pass, sealing the game for the Warriors, and earning him the player of the game honors with three turnovers.

“[The interception] feels awesome,” Whitley said. “Really I’m just glad we got the win, we fought, we played physical, and we played with flawless effort.”

In a game that carries great importance with seniors every year the Warriors overcame their difficulties and won, leaving the seniors with one last homecoming win of their High School careers.

“It’s great to win on homecoming,” Lane Wood said. “We haven’t done it in the past couple years. It just feels great. It’s just amazing it’s all I could’ve wished for after being 1-9 my sophomore year. I love being around these guys and it’s just amazing to go out on a win.”

The Warriors will play again next week Friday, Oct. 20, against the Stony Point at Dragon Stadium.

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  • Leaning over, members of the student section high-five Cooper Case ’24 and Josiah Kent ’25 as they walk off the field after their victory. The game was the Warriors’ fifth win this season, coming off of a 26-21 loss to Vista Ridge last week.

  • Seniors Mike Davis, Lane Wood, and Ananias Vance run out of the blowup ahead of the second half. The score coming out of the first half was 7-7.

  • Smiling, the McNeil Majestics and the SunDancers perform together during halftime. The drill teams’ collaborative routine preceded the McNeil band’s performance.

  • Demani Stewart ’24 sidesteps Maverick defense as he heads to the end zone. Coming into the game, Stewart was the number 11 leading rusher in the state of Texas.

  • Jubilant, Simryn Jacob ’24 grins after being crowned Homecoming royalty alongside Emily Collins ’24. Jacob and Collins ran for Homecoming court together.

  • Posing, Benjamin Yu ’24 smiles alongside his family for a photo. Members of Homecoming Court were presented during halftime, walking through JROTC’s Arch of Sabers.

  • Grinning, Emily Collins ’24, Principal Erin Campbell, and Simryn Jacob ’24 pose for pictures.

  • Dodging a swipe, Demani Stewart ’24 shuffles down the field during the first quarter. A series of Maverick defensive stops during the first quarter ultimately ended with Mavericks in possession of the ball.

  • Darting down the field during the fourth quarter, Drew Norell ’26 attempts to evade Maverick defense while in possession of the ball. With 3:52 left on the clock, the Warriors found themselves with a 14-7 lead before McNeil scored again.

  • Jumping for joy, players pump their arms in the air after securing their victory. The Warriors won the game 17-14.

  • Roaring, the student section celebrates as the Warriors’ score. The theme of the Homecoming game was “Orange Out”.

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About the Contributors
Sawyer Grimaldi
Sawyer Grimaldi, Sports Editor
Class of 2025 Hi everyone! Coming from a family of writers and English majors I have always been keen on writing and reporting! I started in middle school and haven’t looked back since. Other things I enjoy are playing sports of all kinds, playing video games with my friends, traveling around the world, and playing with my dog. Something interesting about me is that I like to collect shoes and sports jerseys.
Ellen Chuo
Ellen Chuo, Photo Editor
Class of 2024 This is my second year working on Student Press, and I'm so excited to be part of the team. When I'm not at school, I enjoy playing guitar, hanging out with friends, and sleeping. I love to bake, especially when I should be doing homework or studying for a test. I also love hiking, camping, and taking pictures of nature.

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  • R

    RounavMay 20, 2024 at 9:59 am

    This article was really interesting to read because it was about a really popular event that happens every single year, and it was even cooler this year because it was the first time we’ve won in a while. It was interesting to see everything that happened behind the scenes by the players and coaches so that they were able to win the game.

  • L

    Leah KardonikMay 20, 2024 at 9:36 am

    In this sports story I really like how I can feel the intensity from reading it. I can imagine how Lane scored a touchdown and just how the stands got excited. I also really like how the end of the article has provided a bunch of pictures from this night.