Students hold up a “Saturdays are for the boys” flag in honor of the Homecoming weekend and the big game. Students have filled the stands to cheer on their team and celebrate Homecoming. “This was our last Homecoming game,” senior Joe Rechstenier said. “We had to win it for our students and our friends.”
A sea of red consumed the Frank as the Bobcats prepared to fight Arthur Hill. In the days prior to the game, rumors were flying about whether or not our opponent would have enough players to face us.
This was not news to senior Running Back Ryder Brotebeck. After a nearly perfect season so far, he knew that this wouldn’t change anything, and there would be two teams on that field, ready to play.
“It wasn't really different, it was just the team that we played,” Brotebeck said. “We have the same mental mindset for every single game, so there’s really nothing too different.”
Knowing the severity of this game, the boys stepped up to the challenge, bringing out everything they had to stop the Lumberjack’s offense from scoring once. Many of the second and third string players were given time to showcase their skills during this game as well.
“Everyone always puts in the work to get on the field,” senior Defensive Back Joe Rechsteiner said. “They really deserved this. So I was actually kind of glad that it happened.”
Senior Captain Ryan Woody understood that although this was his last Homecoming, these players had worked hard to earn their spots and improve their skills not only for team 99, but for the future teams to come.
“I thought it was great because most of us will not be here next year. For most of these games, they have not gotten much playing time for them to show what they can do and improve their skills.” Woody said.
After losing two league games back-to-back, the energy and positive attitudes that embodied the team were still there which lead them to a 44-0 win.
Running the ball for the Bobcats, senior Ryder Brotebck rushes down the field for a gain in yards. Midway through the game, Brotebeck felt the surreal moment kick in where these were his last chances to run the ball on his home field. “I wanted to win it [Homecoming] because we haven't won [the] Homecoming game ever since I've been here,” Brotebeck said.
In the third year of the Flint Tropics fall lacrosse program, the members of the team continue to develop their own distinct customs through shared memories and expressive chants.
After the Flint Tropics and the Premier Lacrosse Group tied it up, the champion was determined by the method Braveheart, a one-on-one. Flint Tropics player, Taylor Mack, stepped in for his team and scored the winning shot for his dad, Charlie, who had passed away the previous week after a long battle with cancer. At that moment, the entire team poured onto the field, throwing gloves, sticks, and helmets, jumping ecstatically.
This was the moment that helped the coach for the Flint Tropics, Brian Leyes, see not only the impact he had on the players as their coach, but also the impact the players had on each other. In his eyes, this experience touched their hearts and created more of a family-oriented environment.
“As I walked away, I looked up to the sky, and said, ‘Thank you Charlie,’” Coach Leyes said.
The brotherhood continues to develop through their co-opting of the “ELE” chant, which stands for “Everybody love Everybody.” This chant was taken from the movie, “Semi-Pro,” which is also where the Flint Tropics derived their name from.
“We love to say ‘everybody love everybody’ because we believe in the group dynamic of [ELE]” sophomore Andres Perez said.
These players knew how to hype each other up before a big tournament, and so did the coach. For the games, Coach Leyes dressed up as Jackie Moon, a character from “Semi-Pro,” as a way to motivate the team.
“The first time I put on the outfit was right before our first ever game as we were getting ready to take the field,” coach Leyes said. “We went undefeated in that first tournament.”
Learning their plays, juniors Colton McDermaid and Anthony Andreski focus and listen to the coach about how to execute each play. Great teamwork between the coach and players led their team to victory. “I've gotten closer with a lot of guys and I've come out of my comfort zone a lot with people,” McDermaid said.