The saying “You may be knocked down but you will never be knocked out” couldn’t ring any truer for the Magazine Jr High football program. Although bigger towns are blessed with bigger rosters, it’s the smaller towns, the ones who live and breathe team pride, that prove how important football can be to a community. “These guys are the future of the program,” expresses head coach, Ryan Chambers. “This group is who will make up the Sr High team in just a few short years. Jr High is a time for learning and developing all the while growing into young men.”
With the goal of building up roster numbers in mind, the Jr Rattler team consists of seventh and eighth-graders. But don’t let that fool you into thinking they will be an automatic win in the scorebooks. “We will have around 25 players on the Jr High team. The 7th-grade class is a big one. They are loaded with talent and will be a huge asset to the Sr High team in the future.” While uncertainties continue to surround the upcoming football season, the Jr Rattlers will carry on the only way they know how. “This group has been showing up every day and are willing to work hard. The 8th-graders have done an incredible job at leading by example with their work ethic for their younger counterparts.”
With the Jr Rattlers already shaping up to be a wrecking ball crew this season, some of the talent to keep an eye on is Chakong Yang, Kolton McCubbin, Nate Smith, Aiden Carter, and Jaxon Pickartz. Pickartz is an eighth-grader who has been playing football for five years. He is a defensive end and left tackle and not someone you want to come face to face with on the football field. Off the field, Jaxon has a calm, sweet, and inviting disposition. But if you find yourself with the unlucky task of having to man Pickartz in a game, be prepared to witness the unleashing of a ferocious tropical storm.
“This upcoming season means a lot to my class in particular,” explains Pickartz. “We have had the goal to be conference champions since we were all in seventh grade. Although we came close last year, we did not achieve it. With us being the upper-classmen this year in Jr High, we have set the goal to become champions. With new teams in our conference that we have not faced before, we have to be prepared for anything. If it is the ground game or teams taking to the pass, we have the mindset to be winners this year, whatever it takes!”
For Coach Chambers, Bigelow will be the big game to look forward to for the Jr Rattlers. “With us playing a JV schedule, they will be the only conference team we play this season.” Pickartz is looking forward to facing a different team though. “I’m ready for Mansfield because it’s the first game of the season and I’m excited to play against some of my Mansfield friends.”