Homecoming culminates in tonight’s big game | RecordCourier.com

Homecoming culminates in tonight’s big game

by Scott Neuffer

Jim GrantHomecoming king and queen nominees are, from top clockwise, Nolan Sheets and Aspen Abbott; Zack Schultz and Rachel Bennett; Audrick Anderson and Lexie Weaver; Ben Cochran and Savannah Roberson; Kyle Johnston and Jordan Chappell; Colton Witt and Katie Pacheco.

It’s a fall tradition rooted in an oxymoron: democratically elected royalty.

But more often than not, the very students who are voted by their peers to be homecoming king and queen nominees are more surprised by the honor than the bestowing electorate.

“It’s really odd,” said 16-year-old senior Savannah Roberson. “I never thought I’d be homecoming queen (nominee). I’ve never been one of those dressy chicks. I always wear jeans and a T-shirt.”

Although tonight’s homecoming game, which kicks off at 7 p.m.against Damonte Ranch, typically revolves around football, cheerleading and dancing, Roberson said the event actually unites the entire school in many different ways.

“Everyone tries to get together to focus on academics as well as sports,” she said.

She encouraged the community as a whole to participate.

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“It’s good for others to see teenagers in their environment, to see the high school experience,” she said. “High school is a good time, and it’s good for people to come and look back on it.”

DHS teacher Karen Lamb said her leadership students formed a homecoming committee this year to specifically focus on attracting alumni. Students will be selling alumni buttons at the game.

“We want people to come to the games and help represent us,” she said. “We encourage alumni to come back and be part of the school, to be part of its history. Once a Tiger, always a Tiger. There’s really no place like Douglas High.”

Any alumni returning to the football field are likely to find a revved-up student body. All week students have been exploiting this year’s theme, “the good, the bad, the homecoming,” donning the finest red neck attire and craziest pajama get-ups. There was film premiere Wednesday and a massive pep rally earlier Friday.

Ultimately, though, all costumes will give way to the tried-and-true colors of orange and black.

“You get to do a bunch of whacky stuff, make a scene and get attention,” said 16-year-old senior and king nominee Ben Cochran. “The spotlight’s on you a little bit, but everyone’s supposed to get involved.”

As a nominee, Cochran said, it’s his job to be a paragon of school spirit.

“It’s a great school,” he said. “(Alumni) should come back out and see how we’re doing.”

For Nolan Sheets, a 17-year-old king nominee, the homecoming tradition goes back a generation. His father, Mike Sheets, was recently inducted into the DHS Football Hall of Fame for the 1984-85 season. He said his mother, Janelle Sheets, also attended Douglas and was crowned homecoming queen.

“I was pretty shocked, honestly,” Sheets said of his recent nomination. “I was not expecting it. I thought it was a pretty big deal.”

Queen nominee Aspen Abbott, 17, also has a generational connection to the Tiger community. Her father, Jim Abbott, is a DHS computer literacy teacher, yearbook advisor and track coach.

“I think homecoming gets people out of their shells,” she said. “It’s important to support the local team.”

When asked about the Mustangs’ chances against the Tigers, Abbott was unequivocal:

“I expect we’ll win.”

Other homecoming nominees this year are Audrick Anderson, Kyle Johnston, Zack Schultz and Colton Witt for king; and Rachel Bennett, Jordan Chappell, Katie Pacheco and Lexie Weaver for queen.

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