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  • Conner Emery

Homecoming: A Team Sport

The Clayton Valley Ugly Eagles decimated the California High School Grizzlies 49-14 for a victorious varsity Homecoming game after three consecutive home losses.

The Grizzlies mustered a touchdown and a successful PAT in the fourth quarter after two straight scoreless quarters, but the running clock favored the strong lead built by the Eagles. CV set a standard to score within the first five official minutes of every quarter save the last, and California High failed to match pace.

In the previous quarter, for instance, CV closed out at 49-7 after completing three touchdowns and PATs. In the second quarter, the Grizzlies kindled a semblance of the Eagles energy level by intercepting the ball, but no more than twenty official seconds passed before CV returned the favor. Before halftime, the Eagles doubled their first quarter score to establish a twenty-one point deficit that would only grow.

California High started strong with a quarterback sack in the first official minute, though their offensive line lacked the same ferocity. The Eagles, for instance, soared into the end zone thirty-two official seconds after the Grizzlies scored their only touchdown of the first half.

CV, hungry for a Homecoming win, succeeded handily.


The Clayton Valley Marching Band presented its full “Storm” performance for their halftime Homecoming show, including narration and the assembly of multiple movements.

A student-recorded “newscast” introduced the “storm” facing the Marching Band, and they modeled their show off the disruptive yet powerful sounds of a thunder-heavy downpour.

The Color Guard danced with umbrellas in addition to their traditional flags, and small touches included the back-and-forth routine of the brass and woodwind sections to simulate gusts of wind, as well as the brief wiggling of the drumline to illustrate their windswept status.

Azizah Bassa, a student in the brass section, noted that her favorite part of the show “was the news audio track,” as she felt “like it was a very unique and relevant addition that enhances the theme of our show, ‘Storm.’”

The halftime performance, with its inclusion of the audio track and full movements, culminated months of preparation. The Marching Band began preparing this show in July and largely finalized the developmental stage in late September and early October.

“All of our after school practice time goes to repeatedly running the entire performance or practicing specific sections so they can look as clean as possible,” Bassa explained.

Meredith Edmonston, the head drum major, affirmed that the show is a progressive project, saying, “As the season goes on, more visual elements are introduced which made their debut at CV during the homecoming performance.”


The varsity cheer Homecoming performance interwove a specialized dance routine with a variety of stunt work, including multiple pyramid formations and symmetrical acrobatics.

Two grueling months of practice yielded roundoffs and handsprings in coordination with interconnected pyramids. Baskets, be they straight ride or kick, formed the central structure of the performance in addition to moving pyramids. In brief periods of grounded floor performance, such as the closing number, the choreography of the dance routine shone.

“I loved the dance,” gushed Tatiana Gonzalez Prado, a senior on the varsity cheer team. “I do it everywhere.”

Varsity cheer began practicing their distinct Homecoming routine in September. While also curating their standard game chants and productions, the team used two hour weekday practices and four hour weekend practice to piece together their homecoming showstopper.

Ashlyn Jones, a senior on the varsity cheer team, explained that logistical coordination translated to the final performance. “It’s a lot of commitment. If you don’t go to practice, that’s affecting the team.”

The overall choreography demanded intense engagement regardless of position. “Even the base level positions,” Jones explained, took on more stunting work as the routine required.

“The HoCo routine showcased all of our individual talent,” said Nichole Schumann, the varsity cheer coach, though an ode to seniors underpinned the performance. “The human tunnels for the seniors was my favorite part, and I loved that the others yelled ‘we love you guys’ as they ran through them.”

Schumann also commented that "HoCo is the time to show the crowd how talented CV cheer really is," and the stands certified the performance with uproarious applause.


The sports medicine team supervised the Homecoming victory against California High School and supplied the jug of water poured on coach Tim Murphy in celebration.

The athletic trainer leads the sports medicine team as a mentor for graduate students and assisting high school students. Hydration management and athletic taping are the most visible impacts of the athletic trainer and their pupils. However, a medical kit and emergency bags stocked in sum with an AED, crutches, and splint materials are always prepared for football games in case of minor and catastrophic injuries.

The sports medicine team oversees practices and games for all sports on campus. Summer Johnston, a high school senior on the team, qualified though that football athletes “are more prone to injury at games” than athletes in non-contact sports.

“We set up for sports such as volleyball, tennis, JV/freshman football, and varsity football,” Johnston affirmed, explaining that “these sports have different precautions and first aid that is necessary” associated with their likelihood of injury.

Football players, for example, are treated to multiple “iced water jugs, Gatorade jugs, and a cooler full of ice” on game days, while sports that yield primarily chronic injuries like volleyball or tennis are “given waters and a smaller first aid kit” as necessary. As a result, the varsity football team easily had a spare water jug to celebrate with.

“The responsibilities of the athletic training team all correspond to a common goal,” said Laci Evanson, an affiliated high school senior. “The team provides emergent care for injured athletes while trying to bring them back to competition as quickly and safely as possible.”

The Homecoming win for varsity football required minimal intervention from the sports medicine team, and thus they too were successful.


CVCHS Tech Crew facilitated the Homecoming game and its festivities through the coordination of cables, the preparation of sound systems, and communication across the football field.

The Tech Crew splintered into small teams to oversee the setup of individual technical functions. Tech Crew students forwent their sixth periods to retrieve and assemble all the equipment necessary for football commentary and film, Cheer audio tracks, Marching Band recordings, and more. Tech Crew crunched out a sideline speaker system, among other necessities, even before the warm-ups for the JV football game.

“We have to be prepared,” explained Genesis Atoche, a senior in CV Tech Crew.

Atoche emphasized that the team dynamic of Tech Crew is critical to their success. “We try our best to complete everything before school’s over. We work together in different groups, especially with managing equipment.”

In the process of setup, those with “more seniority give orders because” they have comms to relay instructions and progress.

As a result, Atoche noted that establishing communication networks is vital for overall operations. “We prepare the sound system and cords during sixth period, and we connect to the coaches through comms. We check sound—at halftime, we spray fire extinguishers and we check all the stereos.”

In this way, the technical demand of the Homecoming game encapsulates Tech Crew. Hailey Pica, a former member, observed that its rigor presented great opportunities for “getting out of your comfort zone and working as a team to accomplish a common goal.”

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