With a new school year comes a new football season, and stadiums all over the Texas Panhandle and New Mexico filled with fans Friday night for a taste of high school football.
Players and coaches, both new and old, stepped back onto the gridiron for the first of many games testing the teams' abilities to advance on offense and hold strong on defense.
Though freshmen celebrated the idea of finally being in high school and sophomores marveled at the opportunity to be playing for varsity, seniors had a more bittersweet feeling. To be a senior on the football team is an identity in high school, and several seniors from River Road High School don't want that identity, and that bond between teammates, to end.
"I'm going to play as hard as I can and try to get my teammates and the underclassmen to play as hard as they can, too," said Senior Trey Bookout.
"I'd do anything to keep playing," stated Senior Ty Cessnun. "I'd like to play college ball if I could."
Players are not the only ones to relish the life of high school football. River Road Head Coach Jayme Carr has coached for years, and is now starting a new season as head coach for the first time. He said football teaches the boys lessons they will use throughout the rest of their life.
"Football's great because...it parallels life," said Carr. "You're going to have ups and downs in life and you've got to battle through them and you can't pout up and sulk up and quit. And that's what athletics, football specifically, teaches them and that's why it's so special."
With another season kicking off, players are taking advantage of every second: every second on the field and every second with each other.
"I feel very confident as a team," said Senior Trent Dailing. "We come as a family, more than last year I'd say. And I think we're going to do pretty good."
Back are the days of fight songs, trash talk and cheerleaders.
The Texas tradition of Friday night lights is once again underway!