Football players gain regional recognition

The White Station football team might not have attained the record they desired in their overall season, but their achievements did not go unnoticed. Many players on the team have been recognized by the Region 8 6A Division coaches as outstanding and memorable players. These players were divided into three teams by skill: Greg Mangle (12) first and third team; Errin Neal (12) and Andrew Cornell (12) second team; Logan Ahern (11) second and third team; Kimerious Hamilton (11), Anthony Taylor (11), Lonnie Simpson (11) and Justin Jones (9) third team. 

During the season most players were only focused on the opponent of the week, so finding that their hard work was recognized on a larger scale came as a surprise.

“I somewhat knew what the all-regions teams were, but I didn’t really think about it throughout the season,” Andrew Cornell (12) said.

After hard feelings due to the 2022 season record, being nominated by regional coaches for their efforts shed light on the tough season the Spartan football team had.

“It honestly felt good to be recognized [because] a lot of people doubted us,” Lonnie Simpson (11) said.

Players had different views on their own levels of hard work during the season. Many players set goals for themselves during the season to challenge themselves to improve.

“Making the All-Regions teams wasn’t necessarily one of my goals, [but it was] more of an incentive for my hard work and other achievements,” Mangle said.

This significant recognition allows for an abundance of opportunities for players including camp invites and even college offers.

“Maybe some [recruiters] will see it,” Mangle said. “It’s more of a reputation achievement.”

Although players had to put in many hours during the season, they could not achieve this recognition alone. Throughout the season, coaches motivated their players mentally and physically as they trained to improve the team’s performance.

“Coach Pittman, my position coach, [pushed me the most],” Cornell said, “He taught us to play modern football, [it helped] me look at the game differently and it helped me a lot.”

On and off the field, football highlights the importance of teamwork as players work collaboratively to maximize each other’s strengths. Through friendly competition and unified efforts, positive bonds between teammates enhances both team and individual performance.

“Anthony [Taylor (11)] [motivated me the most],” Mangle said, “I didn’t want to get outshined since he was a good player as well, it was almost like a competition. [Anthony] performing well made me want to perform well.”

Being nominated for the All-Regions team is a great accomplishment; however, these teams will not go on to play any games together to showcase their skills, which is disappointing for those players who made the team and want the opportunity.

“I [still feel like] they appreciate our accomplishments, but at the same time, yes, [knowing that there’s] no game is a let down, because we all want to showcase our talents,” Simpson said.

Beyond the All-Region team is the All Star team, which is only one team that holds practices and will have a game on Dec. 10th, 2022. Mangle was selected to play for this team and will represent White Station.

“I’m glad I made the team,” Mangle said,” [I’m also] really excited that I can have the experience of playing in a game with [others who made the team].”

With Mangle being the only Spartan chosen, his friends, family, teammates and coaches are ecstatic for him to seize this opportunity.

“I’m proud of Greg,” Cornell said. “I feel like he really deserved to be recognized.”