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An Enduring Legacy

The traditions of the PLHS student section will continue to flourish under the direction of this year's new leaders.

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Student Section leader Hayden Bahl waves a Monarch flag at the Papio South game.

Student Section leader Hayden Bahl waves a Monarch flag at the Papio South game.

Avery Wagoner

Avery Wagoner

Student Section leader Hayden Bahl waves a Monarch flag at the Papio South game.

Sarah Altman, Sports Editor

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Student Section leader Hayden Bahl waves a Monarch flag at the Papio South game.

A low, rhythmic rumble hangs in the humid air as hundreds begin to file into the stadium seats. Kickoff is only seconds away, but the section at the south end of Foundation Field has been teeming with life for more than an hour and a half.  Here, students stand packed together, glittering golden in the fading sun, their faces rouged with maroon body paint. As bottles of baby powder are passed excitedly from hand to hand, a whisper starts, gradually erupting into screams that sustain until the ball is punted. A cloud of white powder fills the air, swallowing the student section whole; Monarch football is (finally) underway.  

On any given Friday night from August through October, hundreds of Monarchs will flock to the student section, affectionately dubbed the home of ‘Huebert’s Hooligans.’ Emanating from this central hub is the very embodiment of Monarch pride and spirit. A constant stream of cheers floats overhead, powered by a united student body screaming itself coarse. This well-oiled machine of enthusiasm is directed by this year’s new leaders, seniors Hayden Bahl and Kort Hamel.  

At the start of each season, the previous year’s leaders pass down the flags (which, in accordance with one of many secretive rules, can only be held by a select group of people) to the new leaders.  

“I believe I was chosen because I am vocal and outgoing,” Bahl said. “I received the flags the Sunday before school started. We met up and the old leaders went over all the rules and expectations.”  

These expectations are no joke, and Bahl handles them with grace; he knows the importance of his post, and he is excited to carry on the legacy he has witnessed for years.  

“It means a lot to me,” Bahl said. “I spent my whole life watching Monarch football, and I’ve grown up with it.”  

The spirit of the student section has spanned generations. Its endurance is due in large part to the involvement of the students themselves.  

“The more you participate, the better time you will have,” said Senior Peyton Juracek. “It’s really up to you how you want this year to go. Everyone needs to be involved. Cheering is a collective effort.”  

In the moments that really count, motivation matters. Whether it be during a last-second Hail Mary or an essential two-point conversion attempt, the morale of the team affects the way they play.  

“It’s important to get everyone excited to help out the guys on the field,” Bahl said.   

Bahl, the starting center on the varsity basketball team, is familiar with the positive effects of this encouragement.  

“It helps you play better when the student section is behind you,” Bahl said. “It’s just a lot more fun to be [play] at home.”  

 Most importantly, the student section sets an example for all those at Foundation Field and displays the character of PLHS as the team wins, and loses, with grace.  

“Having good sportsmanship helps people to realize that ultimately, it’s just a game,” Juracek said. “The most important thing is that all of us came together to support one another and show what it means to have the spirit of a Monarch.”  

This spirit, which has defined the Papillion-La Vista tradition of excellence since the 1970’s, will continue to permeate the crisp air as summer fades to fall and the season progresses towards the state title. Throughout it all, the team can count on the student section to have their backs.  

 

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