Photo Courtesy of Life Touch
Long Reach took a trip back to the 1920’s as the school celebrated Homecoming 2017 the week of October 2nd.
Starting the festivities with spirit week, staff and students dressed accordingly each day of the week to show love for their school. Monday kicked off the week with Maryland Day as the Long Reach family came to school decked out in their favorite Maryland merchandise. On the following days, the school hosted Decades Day, Character Day, Pajama Day, and finally Color Day. A group decided to dress up as characters from an episode of Victorious, and cast members Elizabeth Gillies and Matt Bennett shouted them out on Twitter.
The morning of October 7th, the school marching band, teachers, and other clubs gathered outside of the school, ready to march in the parade. The sun was hot that morning, but spirits were high as participants threw candy and played music for bystanders and viewers of the parade.
This year, LRHS was able to collaborate with the Howard County Police Department and march around the Long Reach Neighborhood. Homecoming planner Ms. Hunter commented, “It took a very long time to find out if our parade was approved…so we lost participants.” Although the parade did not have as many members as planned, there was still a good turn out.
“I feel like the parade went better than in past years. There was more participation not only from the school, but also the Long Reach community,” commented Junior Javier Ramirez, who participated in the parade.
The parade started approximately at 9:55 am as the procession was guided by police up and around Tamar Drive and back to the school, ending around 10:30 am. The parade included groups from the school such as the Alpha Achievers, SGA, the Marching Band, and Class of 2019 and 2020 class councils. “I think the parade worked out well. It is hard to think how it could be better,” said Ramirez.
The screams of the crowd, the passion on the field, and the school colors in each student section are all what makes the rivalry between Howard and Long Reach so iconic. This game did not have the result most students anticipated, as Long Reach endured a disappointing 20-6 loss at the hands of Howard on Lightning soil.
This game was especially distant from the “HoCo bowl” that occurred around the same time in 2016, resulting in a 14-7 loss at Howard in the final minutes of the game. In most recent years, Howard has, for the most part, been on top each year these two teams face off in terms of records and standings, and this year proved to be no different from the past.
“We’re not scared of Howard unlike other teams of the county,” says Long Reach Varsity Football Coach Jamie Willis.
Turnovers and mistakes on special teams were Long Reach’s biggest issues on the field; they gave Howard good field position on multiple occasions and this resulted in easy opportunities for the Lions to score.
“[The game] was kinda boring….it wasn’t as competitive as I thought it would be. There were moments, but that was it,” commented Long Reach Junior Elijah Modeste.
The Lions scored first in the first quarter with fumble recovery for a score, and later in the quarter with a easy run with field position given to them due to a botched punt. By halftime, it seemed as if the game would be a blowout.
“The biggest factor [causing poor execution] was not staying united and playing together,” stated Long Reach wide receiver Junior Nashwan Bakar. Long Reach offensively struggled at first, but eventually came into the second half with aggression by running and throwing the ball much more effectively. This led to Long Reach’s first and only score of the game at the end of the third quarter with a two yard pass by Seniors Tyler Moore to Tre’Von Morgan, but at the end of the fourth quarter the Howard Lions marched down the field and responded.
“We need better execution…but we’ve improved a lot since then,” mentioned Coach Willis. When it seemed as if the Lightning were going to force the Lions to punt and attempt to tie the game up, they allowed the first down–thus Howard’s possession of the ball was much longer and took a lot of time off the clock. The Lion’s offense displayed their ability to wear out the Lightning defense with some ease. While on the other hand, when Long Reach had the ball, it looked as if they could score and even the odds they finished short.
“When you play a team like Howard, who knows how to win, you can’t turn the ball over… they went undefeated [up to that point],” said Coach Willis. Despite all that happened throughout this game, Long Reach refused to allow Howard to stomp them out. Long Reach fought until the end and made for a disappointing yet passionate game for Long Reach.
Later that day, students from every grade flocked back to school to dance the night away. Doors opened at 7:00 pm, and by 7:20, the line was already stretched far out the back door. It took about an hour to get everyone inside the 1920’s themed festivity, and although some were frustrated by the duration of ticket check, once inside, the mood returned to excitement. “Last year’s [ticket check] was quieter and faster; this year’s was more secure, so I liked that,” commented Hunter.
As the dance went on, attendees participated in dancing, eating, and socializing. “The dance went pretty well and it was nice, plus the food was good,” said Junior Knowledge Wells. He elaborated how he felt the music showcased different students at the event with it still being a good time. “ I like how the music was diverse for all students while still playing popular songs,” commented Wells.
Hunter explained how the pizza and cake was successful last year. They both went quickly as students gravitated towards them, so they did it again this year, but the cookie bar was new as of this year. She said “it went the best” out of all the refreshments.
By 10:00 pm when the dance was ending, the crowd was far from being tired, as the music still bumped loudly by the DJ. Though the event went smoothly, there can always be room for improvement. “They could have more drinks and games to play other than the dance,” said Wells, on how homecoming could be better next year. For next year, Hunter hopes to promote Homecoming even more to to raise students’ anticipation for the event.
“I think homecoming went really well, all things considered,” said Hunter. She believes the success from this year’s homecoming will give students something to look forward to next year.