The first inkling that Sierra High was about to raise the bar a notch or two came in the form of probably the biggest sign ever seen in these parts at a high school football game.
Hanging from the back of the visitors’ bleachers the greeted those attending Friday night’s Sierra versus Oakdale football game was the handiwork of true blue school spirit reflected in a sign that was easily 20 by 40 feet. It read:
Coming together is the beginning.
Keeping together is the progress.
Working together is the success.
Welcome to the Den
If that wasn’t enough to convince you Sierra isn’t about to let anyone top them in school spirit consider what was inside the stadium:
• There were at least 70 signs including several vinyl signs plus those sidewalk pole sign banners that are now all the rage.
• At least 80 members of the Wolfpack showed no fear of using paint to put a face on their school spirit. Sorry, East Union, but as impressive as the Lancers Red Sea was last week there was more paint on the Wolfpack than in “Braveheart.”
• There were close to 130 Tiny T’wolves cheering with the Sierra cheerleaders.
• Students had painted the press box Sierra blue as well as the student cheer section bleachers blue.
• The ranks of the Sierra High band was swelled with members from the feeder school bands.
• The Wolfpack added their own flag complete with blue background and silver T-Wolf profile that was was carried back and forth at a fast jog in front of the bleachers by two loyal pack members decked out with matching blue and silver face paint.
It’s Week No. 4 and Sierra has risen to the challenge when it comes to proving who has the most spirited fans and bands in all Manteca.
“We had about a hundred kids paining each others’ faces and eating pizza in a classroom before the game,” noted Sierra High activities director Anthony Chapman.
Chapman is a 1998 Sierra High graduate who proudly admits that “I bleed Sierra blue” said the leadership class and other students wanted to show they could rise to the occasion.
And rise they did.
Not only were they true to their school but they had fun and got behind their team. And they proved they weren’t just fair weather fans.
Yes, Oakldale won 33-15 but consider this: With 4:48 left Sierra scored and then followed it with a two-point conversion. The crowd - especially the Wolfpack - went wild. They truly believed they had a chance to take down the Mustangs. And believing in your school through thick and thin is what it is all about since it means you believe in yourself and your classmates.
Sierra definitely set a new standard Friday night.
• THE FANS: Let’s face it, Sierra High definitely is out in front in terms of face painting and perhaps seven in actual numbers composing the ranks of the student cheer section.
They constantly made noise, moved with the music, and never let their enthusiasm level drop.
It was part of a strong overall showing of blue on the home side.
They get the highest grade so far this season. The only thing that kept them from getting a perfect score was volume. Something tells me, though, that they will turn it up a notch when they meet Manteca High and East Union High. GRADE: “A”
• BANDS: You have to be fair to the Sierra High band. They were down just a bit from Week 0 but that had to do with the nice touch of adding musicians from feeder school bands.
A brilliant move if you think about it. It’s almost like a mentoring program and builds T-Wolf loyalty before they step onto campus.
It should be noted that the band made sure music seemed to be always in the air.
One of the nice things about football games far is how all of the school band programs seem to be in expansion mode. GRADE “B”
• SIGNS: One word - wow. Not only did they blow the doors off what everyone else has done so far but they added a big green touch by laminating many of the signs that were designed to cheer on individual players and members of the spirit squad. The vinyl signs were a nice green touch as well.
But when all is said and one it is the sign that greeted you as you approached the field that set the tone for both spirit and the attitude of Sierra’s Wolfpack. GRADE: “A+”
• SPIRIT SQUAD: Incredible is the only way to describe it. We knew the Sierra High cheerleaders could cheer and stunt but they are impressive role models as well. It’s a point you couldn’t debate if you saw how they directed the 130 charges with ease. They entered the stadium in formation and cheered and moved in unison. GRADE: “A”
• CROWD ETIQUETTE: Not bad, not bad. At the end of the night it is only a game and the Sierra fans get that there is something much more important than winning a game and that’s being a winner in life whether you win, lose or draw. GRADE “A-“
• NEXT WEEK: It’s time to put it all on the line next Friday. It’s East Union at Sierra. Who will prevail in a one-on-one fans and bands match up when the Red Sea rolls into the den? It should be interesting.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org