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Football’s Tak Pak brotherhood is stronger than ever

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SET…HIKE! The phrase many Granger Lancers hear the most on Friday nights. They all crowd onto the cold metal bleachers bundled up in jackets and blankets ready to watch and cheer on the biggest brotherhood in the school, Granger’s football team, the Tak Pak. They sacrifice a few hours that could have been spent on homework to enjoy a good night taking pictures, getting faces painted, and watching the game with friends.

On a daily, the players spend hours training and practicing for all the upcoming games. They have only one goal in mind when practicing and training out on the field: to win. They want to earn a place in the state championship. “We set a goal from the beginning to be state champs, and we hold ourselves accountable to that,” Amata, Tavai (12) said.

The boys this year have had a better year. With the season coming to a close, they have won five games and lost three. This winning record has had the whole school raving and shouting with every new game that approaches.

It wouldn’t be a proper game without the loud and proud Crimson Crowd out on the stands. The crowd is even louder after the start of Granger’s Pep Team. “It has been a slow process but, we are getting there. Our vision is going to be reached,” Alexis Topacio (12) said. She’s one of Pep Team’s leaders. Mr. Anderson, a vice principal, has been to most of the games and has come to love the crowd and the football team. “The crowd is absolutely fantastic, and the football boys…I love them. They represent our school well, and they make us all proud.” Anderson said.

Throughout the season the team has had their struggles, from those injured to those players not having faith in themselves. “We push each other when negativity arises and try to get rid of those negative thoughts and replace them with the positive,” Sione Houma (12) said. Houma suffered an injury during the Syracuse game. Houma is working his hardest on improving his ankle and getting back in the game as soon as possible.

With so much work being put in, the boys have tried hard for one reason. “This year everyone came together as a brotherhood, we trust each other more,” Sidney Alofipo (12) said. Mr. Kaluhikaua worked part-time during the two previous seasons, but he became a full-time coach this year. He saw more of this change than anyone else. “The boys have always been good. This year, they just bought into the program and expectations, and they were willing to make the sacrifices,” coach Kaluhikaua said.

A loss isn’t easy, the players tend to beat themselves up, but it only fuels them to do better with the next time. Slowly they are learning that it is OK to lose as long as they improve after studying their performance.

In the end, the Tak Pak fell one touchdown short of a state championship ticket in a frustrating tie-breaker half played against Hunter. Players and fans alike are ready to shout louder and prouder as they prepare for the 2017 season.

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Football’s Tak Pak brotherhood is stronger than ever