Dunellen Football Team Retains Hopes For Successful Season By: Tyon Forney-Hush

The Destroyer football season kicked off with a game against Mater Dei. Though the team lost, they retain their hopes for making this season more successful than their last. With losses against Mater Dei (final score 42-6), Highland Park (final score 37-16) and Spotswood (final score 28-20), the Destroyers are not letting those losses shake their spirits.

When asked about some of his expectations for the season, Senior Chris Rouland, offensive line/defensive tackle, and one of the team's captains, replied, “To win half or more of our total games.” Middle linebacker/offensive line and fellow captain Alain Diaz, Senior at DHS, mentioned that one of his personal goals is to “Lead my team to victory this year and win a few games this year.” Diaz added that he intends to reach those goals with good leadership between himself and the other captains on the team.

Chris Rouland

The Destroyers had a winless season last year, and the team believes that this is attributed to a variety of factors. Tight end, Mike Gedevani, Junior at DHS, was asked why he believed last season was unsuccessful. “Last year was a rebuilding season; a lot of our guys were young and going against seniors. Last season we lost a senior only team and brought in a lot of inexperienced players.” The Destroyers had 21 seniors on their football team back in the 2014-2015 season, and adopted 9 new freshmen in the following 2015-2016 season. Gedevani believes this is why the Destroyers struggled last season.

The Destroyers believe that they are a strong team and are ready to compete with other teams this season. Gedevani adds that “Since the coaches are more in depth with training this season, you can already see that we’re putting up good competition against other teams.” It appears that the Destroyers are prepared to try hard in order to succeed this season.

Alain Diaz

The Destroyers have been working hard to make this season a successful one before it ends on the eleventh of November. Diaz believes that his coaches have been preparing the team well. “They are pushing us hard and finding new ways to get us bigger, faster, and stronger; and finding new regiments to use in the weight room.” Rouland commented that “We worked hard during the summer and put in a lot of time during the off-season”. The team believes they are ready take on any obstacles that may emerge this season.

Although a goal of the team is to better themselves as a whole and win more games, the individual players posses their own goals as well. Diaz stated that one of his individual goals is, “To lead the team in sacks and tackles this season.” Running back/Defensive end and fellow captain Jason Watung, Junior at DHS, stated that one of his personal goals is to “make our team better, and strengthen each individual.” He plans to achieve those goals by having serious practices and staying focused on his goals. When asked which game he’d like to win the most this year, he said that he would like to beat Middlesex-the team's rival-this season, and said that it’s the “the most important game of the season.”

Alain Diaz on the left; Christopher Rouland on the right

The Destroyer cheerleaders also work hard for the sake of the team. Cheerleading Coach Ms. Vail identifies how the cheerleaders put in a lot of work in order to improve the team’s morale. “Starting in June, 2-3 times a week all summer long for about 2-3 hours a practice, and that continues through the school year, and that doesn’t include the games either.” She adds, “They dedicate a lot of their free time. The cheerleaders focus on looking professional when it comes to an actual game. During practices, they work on their dance moves, and gymnastics. In addition, the cheerleaders also work on stunting-which is the most difficult portion, according to Miss Vail.

The cheerleaders play a large role in improving the football players morale during a game, but their responsibilities do not end there. “They’re responsible for getting the crowd involved, having a positive attitude even if the team is losing, and greeting the other team by going to their side to do a hello cheer, to promote sportsmanship.” Miss Vail goes onto to say, “Just knowing that the cheerleaders are there, regardless if they hear them cheering or not, the football team feels great knowing that they’re there. The cheerleaders are a great support system for the football team, even if they lose the game. It’s more than just the glitter, the colors, and the sparkly bows.”

The Destroyers have a few more games to complete before the season concludes in November. Fans will have to wait to see how the rest of the season plays out.

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