TJ’s varsity football team celebrates the start of the season with their first win.
When the leaves start to turn, the weather gets cooler, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes return, this can only mean one thing: TJ football is back in action. On Friday, September 1st, the Spartans were victorious over Mitchell High School with a score of 29-8, starting their season with a big win.
Before the season began, players and coaches prepared for the fall with hard summer workouts, practices, and the formation of a team environment. These steps allowed the Spartans to feel confident and focused before their opening game, headed by new head coach, TJ alum, and two-time Super Bowl Champion Derrick Martin. Coach Martin competed in football, baseball, and track during his time at TJ, leading him to attend the University of Wyoming on a football scholarship. From there, Martin was drafted onto the Baltimore Ravens for three seasons, before playing for the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, New England Patriots, and Chicago Bears. Though his love for playing was immense, Martin ultimately made the choice to begin coaching when his playing days expired. “I have always been passionate about coaching, kids and Spartans,” said Martin. “Being able to do all in one job makes me happy.” Martin hopes that the players will make memories throughout the season that will last a lifetime, and that they will all leave a legacy. He also believes that football is more fun when students are successful in academics as well, so his hope is that his players will achieve excellence both on and off the field.
Friday afternoon’s game gave the team a chance to showcase their offensive and defensive strengths. TJ took the lead early in the game, and touchdowns were scored by seniors Justin Vigil, Dane Washington, and John Turner. The crowd, much like the gameplay, did not disappoint, as many TJ students came to support the team in their first game. The student section was a sea of yellow in celebration of the “Gold Out,” one of many themes for this year’s games. “It makes me excited for more football games, because I love being front and center getting everyone involved, cheering and smiling and just getting loud,” explained junior Zoya Robbins. Students from all grade levels were present, and they were able to keep the crowd enthusiastic and to motivate the players throughout their time on the field. “The student section really gets us going,” said senior Colton Hook, one of the team’s linemen. “It’s great to hear them yelling and supporting us and it helps to get us going again if we ever lose our momentum.”
On Friday, September 9th, the varsity team will play their first away game and face off against Pueblo Central High School at 7pm. While Pueblo is a considerable distance from Southeast Denver, Spartans should show their TJ pride and support the team while in their quest for a second win in a row.