After a 14-59 loss to King, a 21-20 win against Denby, and a 42-0 win against CMA, Renaissance Phoenix football team did not get picked for state playoffs. The RHS varsity football team faced CMA Oct. 12 in its last exhibition of the season, well aware that very game could be its last.
“If this is my last game, I just want to say: I love all my teammates,” senior varsity captain Dakarai Washington said following the game.
“We put it all on the line, and when it counted, they had my back. We had fun today. If this is my last game, it’s for sure a good one.”
While players sought to “have fun and make a turn-around,” they could be heard chanting “Good play!”, “Let’s Go!”, and “Way to work fellas!”
Even when a player made mistakes, the whole team was cheering him on.
Before you knew it, Renaissance beat CMA 42-0, qualifying RHS for states. To qualify for state playoffs, a team needs to win at least five games.
Because of the large amount of teams that win exactly five games, however, MHSAA selects who moves on.
Senior DeCarlo Merino viewed the team’s chances positively. Merino said, “We went from a team that barely even made cities and having two-win seasons, to a team that could possibly make states. If this is my last game I still feel like we made a turn-around.”
The Renaissance varsity football team devised a fun, but competitive strategy to keep teammates another focused throughout game.
Dakarai said, “We were betting each other push-ups on who makes it to the quarterback first. I just wanted to have fun with my brothers if this was my last game.”
He said there is no other way he’d end his senior year.
The Sunday following, the Phoenix varsity players learned that they did not get picked for state playoffs.
Students at Renaissance were heard saying that the team was “cheated,” because Renaissance beat Central, who was picked for states, and because Renaissance beat Denby before Denby won the City Championship. Denby made it to the state playoffs.
Accepting the outcome, Renaissance players were still “happy with their season and the bonds that they created with their brothers.”