KINGSBURG – Downtown Kingsburg was filled with chants of “V-I-K-I-N-G!” as a crowd of students, band members and cheer squad from Kingsburg High were joined by community members to turn Draper Street into a pep rally Nov. 1. It was the afternoon just before one of the most anticipated football games of the season, the Battle of the Fire Extinguisher.

“This rivalry’s been going on since your parents and grandparents have been alive,” ASB Activities Commissioner Joshua Jackson reminded the students.

The pep rally included fight songs, tongue-in-cheek contests of ripping up and eating the meat of their rival’s mascot, and gratitude for the community’s support.

Varsity football Coach Dave Wilson thanked the community and students for coming out to the rally and for their support throughout the football season.

“We really can’t do this by ourselves. You guys play a big role in what we do every Friday night.”

The Vikings would go on to win the Rivalry Game, but regardless of the final score, Wilson was among KHS staff and students who said Viking valor was something they felt all year long.

“We’re rocking it out and not just with football, but all our other sports, our band and our cheer. It’s a great time to be a Viking. Let’s go get 10-0 tonight!” Wilson said.

Before leading the students out to the rally, KHS Band Drum Major Adam Bratton said he’s proud of his entire school, not just what the football team, or even just what their band accomplishes.

“It’s just the pride of being a Viking and supporting any club. It’s not just football, it’s other sports and not even just sports. We support FFA, we support band, the academic teams. It’s taking pride in your school as a whole. For most schools, it’s just ‘we have a good football team,’ but we’re really blessed to have a high school that has a well-rounded setting. Our football team is undefeated this year, our band’s two-times state champions, we have an amazing FFA Department and our Academic Decathlon is amazing this year, too. We have really academically strong departments and it’s just something we really need to be proud of to be going to Kingsburg High.”

During the rally, Jackson compared the football team to warriors who needed to use all their senses as they battled against the Bears that night.

They had football players and others join in one game to demonstrate their ability to tear apart bear meat and another game where fall athletes pretended to eat bear meat as quickly as possible.

Alumni Vince Palomar, a City Councilmember, and KPD’s Derek Gagnon joined in the first contest against the football players and staff members. The goal was to empty all the Tic Tacs out of the containers that were glued to a ruler by shaking their heads back and forth. Noah Rocha won that contest, with Gagnon coming in second.

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The fall sports athletes from the girls and boys water polo teams, girls tennis, girls golf, cross country and girls volleyball also gave quick updates on how each team fared this season and what they anticipated for their teams as they head into playoffs.

After a musical bear game, the pep squad cheered and the KHS band played fight songs as the students marched back to campus.

Band Director Mike Schofield weighed in what show school spirit means to him as the KHS Band plays a pivotal role in showing school pride at a number of school events.

“We’re all connected within our school, whether that means we’re on the football team, or marching band, the debate team or anything. It just means we’re here to support one another. The Band plays a unique role in that.”

All the school’s teams - athletic and academic - have their own competitions and events, however Schofield said the Band is unique in that they get to help ramp up school pride by setting the tone for rallies and games.

“The drumline goes out to the quad on Friday mornings if there’s a game that day. They like to play at the rallies so the band is a multi-faceted way of demonstrating school spirit by what they look like, what they sound like and what they act like. They go and represent our school at competitions and at the rallies. Within the band, it’s a big deal.”

Cheer squad senior Anissa Romero said she, too, enjoys the role they get to play in pumping up crowds to show school spirit.

“It’s really just including everybody and coming together. To me, it’s about being excited and moving forward.”

At the rally, the students did not yet know the outcome of the actual game. Win or lose, though, they agreed they’d be proud of being a Viking no matter what.

“We’d know that we tried our best and would just look to the next game,” Romero said.

For Jackson, school spirit means even representing your home town with pride.

“Win or lose, you support them through any ups and downs. I think Kingsburg has great school spirit and we’re excited for the game tonight. I’m so proud we have amazing staff who support us and amazing students who come together and represent the school well.”

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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