Raiders Look Beyond Ranking and Prepare to Win the Day


Cambelle Starnes, Editor

Expectations are high for the Raiders this year with polls showing them highly ranked in the state and undefeated in season play.

The Sunnyvale varsity football team is taking a dominant position early on in the 2016 season. Even before a football cleat had touched the field this season, the Raiders were ranked within the top 10 in the state by Texas High School Football 3A Power Rankings. With 22 returning seniors, the team has shown a similar drive as last year’s Raider state quarterfinal team by already scoring an average of  31 points over their opponents halfway through the season with five district games remaining. 

Even with three new coaches added to the team, the Raiders attitude about winning is consistent.

“Last season was historical but this year we returned 22 seniors so we hope to go even further and make history again” senior captain Tre Sterling said.

The Raiders did make history last year making it into the top eight 3A teams in the state. The current rankings put the same expectation on the Raiders for this year. So, do the predictions add any pressure to the team or change the way Sunnyvale’s game is coached or played?

“No, the only stat that matters is the win column at the end of the season,” new Coach William Calvert said.

Players hold a similar view of being ranked.

“Being ranked so high is very exciting and we take a lot of pride in that, but being [6th] best is not our goal,” junior Josh Jacobs said. “We want to win a State Championship and be the best in the State.”

While the polls indicate how strong outsiders view the Raiders, the individual players view their strength based on first-hand knowledge of the team dynamic.

“Our strengths are definitely in our discipline,” senior captain Cash Goodhart said.

Keeping their opponents on edge and working hard throughout the game is another key to the team’s success.

“We play fast-paced football and do our very best to keep our opponents tired,” senior captain Ben Settle said.

With momentum and experience in their favor, the Raiders are predicted to perform at high levels this season. While this kind of pressure might derail other teams, for Sunnyvale it’s business as usual.

“Last season was great, but I believe we’re prepared to take the next step, and that’s our goal,” senior captain Caleb McDill said.