Football, Cheer and Marching Band Reunite for the Football Season


Krisha Konchadi

Home football games allow the football team, marching band and cheer team to unite Portola High under the banner of school spirit.

It’s the second varsity football game of the season. An evening breeze sweeps through the bleachers, sparsely occupied by small clusters of parents and relatives. 

On the field, football teams from Portola High and Woodbridge High face off in a gripping tussle for victory. At the same time, the pep squad radiates school spirit, chanting “Let’s go, Bulldogs” while the Pride of Portola watches on the side of the field, socially distanced and preparing to perform an instrumental arrangement of “Fight Song.”

After spending a year apart, these three interconnected groups reunited for the start of the spring football season.

“I haven’t heard of the band team or cheerleading team until recently when the games were starting,” football player and junior Adam Aly said. “They brought back a lot of memories from last year. It was a really good thing to see, and I’m happy that we’re able to go back to our football games because a football game is a football game, but it’s not the same without the band performances or the cheer because a lot of people remember football games because of that.”

Home football games have always provided a unique opportunity for the cheer team and marching band to rouse school spirit. Though marching band has faced numerous restrictions this semester during rehearsals and performances in terms of mask-wearing and social distancing, its role in football games has remained in place, according to marching band section leader and junior Sophia Lin.

“I feel like we’ve brought the same energy to the field,” Lin said. “It’s just a little hard because we’re so far away from each other, but we’re all managing, and I think I wouldn’t say that anything’s changed a lot except for the fact that we’re on the sidelines instead of the stands, and there’s no student section that we can hype up. There’s not a lot of difference from last year.”

In a traditional year, the pep squad would prepare alongside marching band for football game performances with a structured quarter-by-quarter schedule. However, coordinating when each group goes onto the field has been challenging due to the distancing requirements spreading out the two groups, according to pep squad co-captain and senior Abby Hopper.

Throughout each football game, cheer and marching band work together to lead voice chants and supplement band music with short, rehearsed cheer routines. With the next home football game for the Bulldogs being the final one of the season on April 16, the two groups continue to put in effort for an effervescent performance.

“It was so crazy to see how much dedication everybody had for this craziness within the past few weeks of starting football season,” Hopper said. “Everybody is so happy to be back that I think they want to put 110% effort in knowing that they’re only going to have a few more weeks, especially with about a good portion of our team being seniors wanting to show as much spirit and do everything we can with these final few weeks that we have on the team.”