The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

Rethinking high school football

 DVHS Varsity football team training for their first game of the season in Milpitas, and wearing their away game jerseys in preparation for the next night.
DVHS Varsity football team training for their first game of the season in Milpitas, and wearing their away game jerseys in preparation for the next night.

We as a student body all watch from the stands in our spirit wear and themed colors. We look down on the players from both sides; cheering for the good plays, and staying silent during the bad. Then we go home and sleep with the peace and content of another night out. 

Now imagine being on the field that same Friday night. Rather than a “fun night out,” it’s a night where you have hundreds of eyes watching you. Sometimes the pressure is good to motivate you, and sometimes it makes you feel proud. 

But sometimes it’s just another reminder of what you have to gain, when you’re struggling. 

Senior Gavin Bergstedt is a varsity player who alternates between quarterback, running back, wide receiver and safety on Dougherty’s football team this year. Bergstedt has watched the school’s attitude towards the team transform in the last four years. 

“I think football [has] been viewed maybe not so positively by our school most recently, just because unfortunately, we [have] lost a lot of games this year,” Bergstedt explained. “But we hope to turn that around, and we hope to leave a good legacy behind what kind of people we are and what kind of players we are.” 

The team’s presence on campus, and the presence of football in high school culture can be an added pressure to the players, on top of their own personal goals within the team.

Along with these pressures, the varsity players are also expected to set an example as role models for the junior varsity and freshman teams, as they will be the ones to take over in place of the varsity players. 

Senior varsity athlete Faris Rayes plays offensive guard, defensive, defensive tackle and long snapper on the football team. Both Rayes and Bergstedt have played on the team for their entire high school careers, and have witnessed the impact of football on the school but also the changes of how the team is viewed alongside that. 

Rayes explains his initial excitement to be on the team, before COVID had hit. And once the pandemic had subsided, he was ready to get hyped for the seasons ahead. As he played throughout the years, he notes DV’s overall presence within football games. 

He then explains how that school-wide view creates a disparity between the spirit and enthusiasm towards football at our school compared to many other high schools in the area and within the nation. 

“I feel like people definitely come out to Friday Night Lights… [however] people from outside and people from inside the school, they don’t believe our school is a ‘sports’ school in a way,” Rayes said. 

He then explains how that school-wide view creates a disparity between the spirit and enthusiasm towards football at our school compared to many other high schools in the area and within the nation. 

With appreciation for those who do come out, there is still a pressure that lingers from the fans at FNL. However, the players on the field find their own ways to cope. 

The outside pressure is felt a little bit,” Bergstedt said. “But ultimately, we try our best to drown it out and continue to work.” 

Even with the team’s rocky start, having a 1-3 record so far, the team has hopes for change, and a bigger impact than just wins and losses. Bergstedt explains that FNL is a way for the high school to connect with the community as well, and be a potential bond between the school and the rest of San Ramon. 

In the team’s goals of connecting with the community, catering to the school’s athletics and creating a team that the student body can represent and celebrate, at the end of the day the sport and what it means remains individual to each and every player’s personal goals and reasons. 

“I tend to play for myself, for my teammates and my coaches,” Rayes said. “It’s more of a personal goal for me to do good [and] I’m not [just] doing it for anyone else in school.”

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Nishita Mukherjee, Managing Editor
Nishita stayed with the Tribune not just because she loves to write, but because the Tribune is like a family too her and she aims to help grow and work with newer writers in the years to come. This will be Nishita’s third year at the Tribune, two of which she spent as a staff writer and this next one as a managing editor. She loves to listen to music in her free-time, as well as reading, working out, watching football, and playing volleyball. This year, Nishita hopes to help other writers find their passion and also continue to write articles that tell stories of others. If she could be any other person at the tribune it would be Shreya J. This is because Shreya J is an extremely talented writer, a hard worker, very ambitious, and on top of that is sweet and has the cutest style ever.

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