Wylie varsity football dads are going old school and bringing back the school-spirited hard hats their predecessors brought to the scene in 2008 to show and encourage support for the team.
Wade Clark, whose son Brady is playing in his second season as the Bulldog’s kicker, was part of the original group and is finishing out his youngest son’s senior year by helping bring back the fun activity. Clark said the original group of dads were called the Helmet Crew since they were the team of dads who helped put-up and take down the helmet the team would run through at the games.
“We wanted to get people involved as much as possible,” said Clark. “Several dads in our group were in construction so we went with hard hats.”
According to Clark, there were about 10-12 core dads for several years who helped stir-up support from the crowd at the games. As seen in the inset photo of original crew members, the dads were known not only for their hard hats but also the “1-2-3, First Down” chant they led at the games.
The hard hats and chanting must have made an impact because the Helmet Crew added Christmas decorations to their helmets as the Bulldogs continued to play ball into December in 2008 (semi-finals) and 2009 (state championship).
It was the “1-2-3, First Down” chant that inspired this new group of dads to be the called the First Down Crew. Clark said the goal this time is to have even more participation. At the time of our interview, he was aware of 15 football dads who were working on their hard hats. “I’d love to have 25-30 varsity dads.” If others want to participate, grab a hard hat. Clark said anyone is welcome to join in on the fun and decorate their own hard hat.
Like before, he hopes the whole crowd will help yell the chants and be loud. “In the past, I knew the players could hear us,” said Clark. “We would get hoarse before the game was over.” He said there will be one dad who triggers the “First Down” chant for them whenever the Bulldogs score a first down and then another chant “1-2-3, Touchdown” for when they score.
Be on the lookout for the First Down Crew and be prepared to get loud with them tonight (10/13) when Wylie faces Wichita Falls Rider at Hugh Sandifer Stadium. According to MaxPreps.com, the two teams share a 4-2 overall record and are ranked 15 and 16 in the state in their division (Wichita Falls Rider 15; Wylie 16), even naming tonight’s game as one of the state showdown games to watch. Kick-off is 7 p.m. so arrive in time to grab your seat, look for the First Down Crew, and get ready to cheer on your Wylie Bulldogs!
By Kristen Johnson