Seniors Shine At Last Home Football Game

By Emily Youngblood

Friday, Oct. 25 was an exciting night for the Oak Hall football players and cheerleaders, as it was Senior Night. The senior football players include Stephen Kaleel, Mason McElroy, Collin Ponton, and Zhai Smith. The seniors on the cheerleading squad include Mason Johnson, Elizabeth Olcese, and Veronika Schmalfuss. 

The goal of Senior Night, “is to honor and recognize the senior players who have helped lay the foundation of our program,” said head football coach, RJ Fuhr. “This will be their last regular season home game, so we want to make it really special for them,” he continued. 

But what goes into Senior Night? “We announce them with their parents and read off their senior questionnaire that they filled out, and give the mom’s flowers,” Fuhr explained. The seniors walk on the field with their parents and other family members, as they get this special moment to be recognized as individuals.

————————————————————————————————————–

Fun facts about Zhai Smith:
– Football Jersey: #23
– He has been playing football for two years, both years he has been at Oak Hall.
– Memorable moments: Going out to eat after the games and the jokes during workouts
– Possibility of playing football in college? “Maybe!”
– What has football taught you? “If you put your mind and passion in it, you can do anything.”

Fun facts about Stephen Kaleel:
– Football Jersey: #56
– He has been at Oak Hall since first grade, and has played football since seventh grade.
– Possibility of playing football in college? “Maybe!”
– What has football taught you? “To work as a team.”

Fun facts about Collin Ponton:
– Football Jersey: #44
– Like Zhai, Collin has been playing football for two years, both years he has been at Oak Hall.
– Memorable moments: Homecoming
– What has football taught you? “Teamwork and putting effort into everything.”

Fun facts about Mason McElroy:
– Football Jersey: #8
– Mason is a lifer of Oak Hall (“lifer” is a student that has attended OHS consecutively since kindergarten) and started in pre-k. He has been playing football since third grade.
– What has football taught you? “To face adversity.”

Fun facts about Veronika Schmalfuss:
– Like Mason, Veronika is a lifer, and has been at Oak Hall since she was three.
– She has been cheering since her sophomore year
– Memorable moments: “When I broke my nose on Mary Madelyn’s face; every choreography session that we’ve ever had is so fun; I love the people and I love our coaches!”
– Possibility of cheering in college? “Yes! I really want to!”
– What has cheerleading taught you? “It taught me more about working together with other people, to come together for a common goal, and also that being positive and encouraging others to do what they love really does actually help them.”

Fun facts about Mason Johnson:
– Mason has been an Eagle since the fifth grade, and has been a cheerleader since the sixth grade.
– Memorable moments: “Definitely our competitive team last year that finished fourth at regionals and seventh at state. We all dedicated so much time and energy into that team, to see it all pay off was wonderful!”
– Possibility of cheering in college? “I will try out to cheer at Wake Forest.”
– What has cheerleading taught you? “Cheerleading has taught be the value of time management, teamwork, and family. The girls on my team mean the world to me and I am incredibly grateful that I had this opportunity to cheer with them.”

Fun facts about Elizabeth Olcese:
– Elizabeth has attended Oak Hall since her freshman year, and is in her second year of cheer.
– Memorable moments: “Making All-American at UCA camp this summer.”
– Possibility of cheering in college? “It depends on the school.”
– What has cheerleading taught you? “Cheer has taught me a lot about teamwork and how it feels to have people depend on you.”

Congratulations to all our seniors on a fantastic season!

Photos courtesy of SWI Photography