By: Bin Lin and Steven Pangburn
Hammond High School is primarily an academic school, however it does not stop athletic students from playing sports as well. Hammond High School’s Varsity Football has a lot to offer. The head coach, Coach Frederick, and some members of the team have also described the team as a team where growth and commitment happens on a daily basis.
Coach Frederick has been keeping a close eye on the team and has stated “The football season has been a growing experience for us, we’re still developing, we’re very young. I’m pleased with the growths with the guys…” which shows that the team has been improving non-stop. As for the teams strengths, Coach Frederick commented that “the guys are committed to the team more than have been in the past… they have more of a bond.” He also commented on how the well the team performed in the game against Atholton’s Varsity Football team: ”it was a redemption game because I felt like we should have beat them last year. But we made a mistake and let them score that touchdown and we couldn’t finish off the drive last year… this year felt really good to get that win back… they played [a] very strong first half.” The game was easily one of the best games Hammond Varsity Football has had in 2018.
As for the captains of Varsity Football, Kevin Childress, Jasiyah Harper, Tayo Ojo, and Keith Vacek all showed their perspective side of the team. The positive side and as well as the setbacks the team is having. Not only that, an up and coming talented player, Samuel Mercedes, has also given some insight to how he perceives the team.
Starting quarterback Keith Vacek is responsible for his players and believes that progression has been one of the team’s greatest accomplishments this season, stating
“I feel like we progressed in a good way, we started off slow and we picked it up and we’re starting to gel together as a team.” As for the team’s strengths and weaknesses, Vacek commented “Our strengths are that we carry confidence and we’re not weak mentally– we’re strong mentally, and our weaknesses are that we get down on ourselves easily.” Hammond’s Quarterback believes the team is capable of working well as long as they work together, and doesn’t allow a loss to affect the team.
Next on the team is starting Linebacker Tayo Ojo. Being one of the most well-respected members of the roster, his honesty about how the season is going is important to how the team can adjust, stating “It’s not going well, I feel like as a team right now we’re not doing what we can to be united as one and to play as one.” When asked how the teams strengths and weaknesses affect the team, Tayo revealed “we have a lot of athletes, but we don’t play for each other united.” Ojo believes Hammond has proud athletes, but they do not work for each other, and rather work for themselves, which seems to be a theme throughout Hammond’s team.
The third captain on the Varsity team is Offensive and Defensive Lineman Jasiyah Harper, who has a more optimistic approach to Hammonds season, stating, when asked about how the season is going, “I don’t think it’s going our way so far, but I think we can turn things around… I think we have better defensive plays throughout the season so far.” Jasiyah believes this year’s defense is strong, and that Hammond has the ability to turn things around while approaching the end of the season.
The final captain on the team is Defensive Lineman Kevin Childress. Kevin also has the same sort of optimism as fellow captain Jasiyah Harper in the sense of believing, despite their record throughout the year, this season has brought “Good experience for everyone on the team.” Although his views are conflicting in how Kevin believes that the team “has no team weakness but we do have team toughness and never giving up.” Kevin’s views on the team provide incite on the persistence of Hammond’s team overall.
Lastly, we have an up and coming talented player, Samuel Mercedes, who has also commented similar ideals of how the season went at first. “We started the season with a bad start… after the enemy team scored we put our heads down, allowing them to kept scoring.” However, Sam had a confident reply, saying “we have a lot of athletes but we aren’t discipline[d]… as long as the team works together, we will win” and this was proved in the intense game with Atholton. He also hopes that next season that he and his team will take down both Oakland Mills’ Varsity Football as well as Reservoir’s Varsity Football.