As anyone who looks at this blog knows, I love to shoot football, particularly high school football. I love the emotion and passion of the players, cheerleaders and fans. I love anticipating plays with as much focus as I did when I played the game. I love the family feel of a high school football stadium. Whether it’s six-man on a dusty field in the panhandle or the 1-5A title game at JerryWorld, there’s nothing quite like the energy of a Friday night in Texas.
When I was in high school, I played football for the Trinity Christian Academy Trojans – a large private school big enough to have a decently loud crowd and a competitive district, but small enough for a not-exactly-Division-1-talent player like me to have the opportunity to start. Now, I have the privilege of photographing the Trojans most Friday nights in the fall. Shooting these games isn’t the most financially lucrative work I do, and I try to convince myself to prioritize higher-paying work over Friday night football, but when it comes down to it, I find myself really hoping no other big assignments come up on Friday nights in the fall.
Because I played for TCA, I have a pretty close relationship with most of the coaching staff (head coach Steve Hayes’ came to TCA my senior year and defensive backs coach Justin McGee graduated a year behind me) and many of the parents and teachers. This allows me to have practically unlimited access – a rare privilege even in the high school sports world. My goal is to take advantage of this access by documenting the season comprehensively, giving a behind the scenes look that goes way beyond game action.
One of my favorite things about covering this team is getting to watch the emotional journey the team takes from August to December. Broken collar bones, shocking upset victories, even cheerleader-player relationships. This team in particular did not disappoint with a dramatic run to the state finals, which ended in a heartbreaking loss to district rival Nolan Catholic.
A few weeks ago, fellow photographer and friend Mark Mulligan, asked if I was going to put together a final edit of my photos from the season. I really hadn’t thought about it, but at his suggestion, I decided to go ahead and give it a shot. I put this edit together quickly – I don’t believe in agonizing too much over an edit - especially when you're cutting about 10,000 images down to 12. Anyhow, these images capture a little of what the season felt like for me, and I hope they do justice to the heart of this football team.
Finally, if any of you Trinity players, cheerleaders, parents, coaches or teachers look at this – thank you for letting me always be "all up in your business." I hope someday y’all can look back at these images and remember how much fun the 2012 Trojan Football season was.