Hard Work Makes Friday Nights Fun
Football Friday Nights are a pretty special event at Wylie, and literally hundreds of students help make it that way.
From the football team to the cheerleaders to the band and the Belles, a whole lot of students put in a lot of hard work and practice to make Friday nights special.
The students say that hard work pays off when they step into Bulldog Stadium and feel that rush of excitement and adrenaline that comes with Friday Night Football.
“It’s amazing honestly,” said Bailey Hicks, senior running back for the football team. “It’s something I’ve waited my whole life for. It’s kind of like a dream come true. The cheerleaders are doing their part; the band is doing its part; the Belles. It’s all about everybody doing their part to try to help win a game.”
Wylie has a host of traditions that have become important parts of the student and fan experience on Friday nights. One is having the football team run out through a giant purple inflatable helmet, an event that can be a little dangerous for the cheerleaders, who are doing flips in front of them.
“That’s one of my favorite things to do,” said senior cheerleader Maci Kirk. “That is crazy. You have to focus on the boys because you don’t want to get run over, but you’ve got to tumble. The adrenaline is through the roof. It’s insane.”
Bennett Schackmuth, a senior offensive lineman, said the experience of running through the helmet gets the adrenaline going.
“Whenever you first walk out, it’s bright; it’s loud,” he said. “You can see everyone cheering for you. The band is playing. It’s very motivating.”
Madison Williams, a lieutenant for the Belles, said the same is true for the drill team.
“The whole atmosphere gets you pumped up,” she said. “My adrenaline is going, and I’m pretty excited.
The fun of Friday nights actually starts early that day with the traditional pep rally.
“I love the whole Friday day thing, says Belles captain Laurol Lemke. “We start with the pep rally and then we get to perform at the game. The whole Friday thing, I love.”
Maci said the cheerleaders work hard to plan all the pep rallies, and they have to start early Friday getting them ready to go.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s a great high school experience,” she said. “It’s totally worth it.”
Maci said one of the things she loves about being a cheerleader is the attention she gets from the younger students.
“All the little kids are so excited,” she said. “I love it. I did that when I was little. I go up and talk to them and ask them their name. I just love the smiles on their faces.”
Bailey said he also remembers being awed by Friday night when he was young watching his older brother Brandon play.
“When my brother played, I would always go down by the scoreboard and play football and then in the 4th quarter, I’d go watch the game,” he said.
Now the younger boys are looking at him and dreaming of when they will be on the big field.
But the best thing about Friday nights is everyone doing their part to bring victory to the Bulldogs.
Maci said now that the band is on the other side of the field, it is a little more difficult to join forces. But in the third quarter, the cheerleaders and drumline team up to get the student section in a frenzy.
“I love going over to see the band,” she said. “We will do a cheer with the drumline. We definitely work together, and it’s super fun. All of us are important. Our main goal is to pump up the boys and the student section and the crowd.”
The band also has a tradition of playing as loud as it can when the other team is on offense and facing a key 3rd or 4th down.
“The band does have a big impact sometimes on the football game,” Bennett said. “When we are on defense, it gets very loud, and it’s hard for the other team to hear.”
Bailey and Bennett both said that they tend to focus on the game and tune out much of the other noise. But it can motivate them at times.
“I can always hear the band and the students, but my main focus is on the field,” Bailey said. “You get a little more into it with the noise and everything. People are there supporting you. There’s people trying to encourage you.”
Whether its football, band or Belles, getting to perform on Friday nights is the payoff for a whole lot of hard work during the week.
“It gives me a rush of excitement,” said Alyssa Lemke, a lieutenant with the Belles. “The feeling is really rewarding. You put in all that hard work and then you get to go out and perform.”
“It’s a lot of work and practicing hard, but it always pays off,” she said.