There have been times over the last few years that I've encouraged folks to come out to the high school football games. And a few times, I have added "to see the band if you've not seen them."

No offense to the football team intended, but as everyone knows, the recent past has been brutal. Things are looking up on the gridiron, and I really believe this is the year the boys shed the "monkey" from their backs, but enough about the football team.

With over 80 kids in the band and under the able leadership of David Hannan, this band is special and has been for a number of years. With a good balance of upper and lower classmen, things look bright for the coming years as well.

If you've seen the "pep band" during basketball season, imagine 80 some odd of these youngsters doing their thing on a football field. It's pretty darned cool. The musicianship of some of these kids is fairly amazing.

The upperclassmen on Hannan's roster are:

• Seniors: Evan Allbritten, Emily Basham, Matthew Brown, Rachel Cohoon, Autumn Hemphill, Natalie Johnston, Abigail Mangrum, Rebecca McGinnis, Aaron Melcher, Brandi Mitchell, Summer Nalley, Dakota Palmer-Melcher, Emily Parmer, Christopher Runion, Love Simpson, Gracie Stewart, Madelyn Stewart, Hailey Taylor, Elise Thomas, Jordan Tolbert, Paige Troutt and Owen Westbrooks.

• Juniors: Lucas Barger, Seth Blankenbaker, Kody Brookshier, Nathanual Gill, Katelyn Hannan, Grant Helm, Tristan Henderson, Jonathan Henley, Autumn Jeffords, Damian Lee, Savannah Meadows, Ralph Richardson, Melina Rodriguez, Skylor Stephenson, Clara Stewart, Lane Watson, Kaitlyn Williams and Chance Williams.

• Sophomores: Kara Atkinson, Matthew Atkison, Matthew Austin, Miranda Burton, Hannah Christian, Gabrielle Cornwell, Blake Cummins, Elijah Dalla, Robert Garduno, Asia Gibbs, Kaylyn Hemphill, Madelyne Lavnick, Hayden Lloyd, Caitlyn Root, Gage Shelton, Tiara Talley, Bradley Thomas, Delaney Troutman, Aiden Trovillion, Lauren Umberger, Rachel Vaughn and Raymond Warren.

• Freshmen: Timothy Andrae, Austin Burnett, Loralei Burress-McGuire, Joseph Coram, Monica Davis, Sharlyne Dominguez, Rebecca Drake, Breana Dunbar, McKenzie English, Jamier Evans, Kaydence Hall, Allison Hannan, Nathaniel Konemann, Olivia Larrison, Jose Lozano, Irene McCoy, Haily Mendoza, Bennett Neely, Nicholas Proctor, Libby Quimby, Kaleb Rodriguez, Amya Sharp, Cheyenne Sumner and Mason Westbrooks.

Everyone knows how much work and dedication it takes to succeed on the football field, the baseball diamond, etc.

It takes just as much time, work and sweat to get as good as these kids are. And like their counterparts on the athletic fields, these kids travel to compete in events and face the same pressures. We are blessed to have them and to get to watch them.

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