Feeling new pressure

Football approaches Battle of the Axe game


Anna Velazquez

Senior wide receiver Gabe Ellis (1) runs out of the helmet along with his teammates at the home game against Irving MacArthur on Friday, Oct. 4.

Nine games into the season, the football team sits at a [7-2] record. With the traditional Battle of the Axe game set to occur on Friday, Nov. 8 at Max Goldsmith Stadium, the team and its fans are ecstatic. The stakes are higher this year due to the game being at home.

“The good news about this game is that I don’t have to say any magic things,” head coach Michael Odle said. “They want to prove themselves and the game means a lot so we’re going to control what we can control, try to win and seize the opportunity that’s in front of us.”

Despite the team’s 39-14 loss to the Hebron Hawks on Friday, Nov. 1, the players continue to feel motivated and work diligently toward their goals. The seniors are driven to put their all into the game because this is not only their last Battle of the Axe, but it’s also their last regular game of the season.

“[There’s] no pressure,” senior running back Ben McAfee (2) said. “It’s just another game and I know we can do it. I don’t really have to motivate myself, I like those moments and the challenges. I live for them, that’s why I play.”

In anticipation of the game, the team has watched and studied film and gone over different tactics to improve their abilities. While the team is pleased with its improvement throughout the season, McAfee thinks there is more work to be done.

“I’m very proud of the team, but we can’t rely on that [because] we have a long way to go,” McAfee said. “We have to execute, do our thing, limit mistakes and push through.”

Junior linebacker Carl Levy (31) experienced winning Battle of the Axe last year and is determined to feel victorious again. Along with his teammates, Levy is eager to see the stadium full of fans to motivate him to play to the best of his ability.

“No other words to describe it but excitement,” Levy said. “It keeps building up and by game day, our adrenaline will be through the roof. We have to stay focused on the task at hand and not let our emotions get in the way.”

Regardless of the outcome, the players are proud of how far they’ve come this year. As the week progresses, the coaches continue to challenge and encourage the players. Coaches and players alike hope for prosperity before playoffs.

“We’re going to [go] after them,” Odle said. “Of course, the scoreboard tells the ultimate story, but I know our kids are going to be excited. There’s a lot of good players on the field from both teams and it’s going to be a battle. Hopefully, we make enough plays at the end that we can be victorious.”