Return to the field

School holds halftime show in place of cancelled football games

photo credit: Ryah Hill
First time to the field \\ Kicking off the marching season, junior Kaitlyn Larson performs to the band’s arranged piece of multiple songs from the Broadway musical Hamilton. The Gold Out game against Longview got cancelled so in place of football’s Friday Night Lights, the Pride of the East, cheerleaders, and Sapphires got to perform their halftime show Oct. 16. “It felt exhilarating to perform in front of a crowd after practicing for so long,” Larson said.

First the football season was delayed by UIL. Then the district asserted that only the football team and cheerleaders would travel to away games, leaving behind performance teams such as the band and drill team. Next, many of the football players were quarantined due to positive COVID-19 cases, resulting in the cancellation of both the Homecoming game and Gold Out game.

Being highlighted as a program outside of football was an amazing experience because I knew that everyone was there just to watch us and cheer us on.”

— Katie Larson, junior

The Pride of the East band, Sapphire, and cheer team leaders got together to plan a halftime performance that would allow them to perform for the first time during the school year. The “Half Time Show,” taking place Oct. 16 at the stadium, would also give the cheerleaders a home crowd experience for the first time in the football season.

“When we found out our first two football games were cancelled we were devastated,” senior Sapphire Captain Brita Burns said. “We had been working since July for football so it was definitely a let down.”
School leaders wanted to make sure that, even in the midst of a pandemic, school functions would still take place, but in a safe manner. That includes getting spirit organizations in front of a home crowd, even if there may not be a football game happening at the same time.

“When our director told us we were going to be able to do a performance, we were just so excited since we had not performed as a team since March,” Burns said. “We were just happy to be able to put on our uniform and dance.”

Cheerleaders were allowed to travel with the football team for the entire season and cheer at away games for the small, socially-distanced crowds that attended.

“To be in front of a bigger crowd again just felt so good,” Cheerleader Audrey Prater said. “To hear the crowd yelling for us was just a huge rush of adrenaline.”

Colorguard performed alongside the band, also for their first time in the season.

“We warmed up beforehand just outside of the stadium and I was really nervous for the performance,” junior Kaitlyn Larson said. “I didn’t want to mess up in front of a crowd.”

Even in the absence of a football game, the school spirit organizations were ready to show off what they had been working on since the summer months at the first-ever Half Time Show.

“Being highlighted as a program outside of football was an amazing experience because I knew that everyone was there just to watch us and cheer us on,” Larson said.