The varsity football team at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School almost had an undefeated regular football season. Almost. The Eagles lost to the Plantation High Colonels last week 39-10.
However, the team won its first eight games of the season and is still going to the playoffs this week. The first game, against Miami High, kicks off at 7:30 at Cumber Stadium in Parkland.
For the student journalists covering the games leading up to this moment, it's been exciting to follow their home team's sucesses. And to capture the energy from the student body that is celebrating, too.
"We're not normally this good at football…" Charlie Goodman said.
Goodman, 17, is a senior at Stoneman Douglas, and a staff reporter for the student news outlet, The Eagle Eye. He covers school spirit, school culture and morale, and...varsity football.
Around campus, there's been a lot of extra hype around the football games this year. Students even celebrated a special pep rally event last week.
Goodman said that after a year of changes and new administration (the school has a new principal this year), students are particularly excited for this playoff game.
"Focusing on the positive is crucial," he said. "Now you have another game, another opportunity for MSD to come together as a community...when that student body gets going together and it's all the students, it's really powerful.
Goodman covers the games from the stands, getting the student perspective. Between the large student band playing and the cheerleaders leading students in chants, Goodman estimates that he sees about a quarter to a third of the student body at the games.
He can't be there this week, but his editor, Jenna Harris, will be.
Read More from The Eagle Eye: MSD Varsity Football Team Falls Short Of An Undefeated Regular Football Season
Harris, 17, sees some of the games from on the field, with her camera. She's also a senior at Stoneman Douglas, and a co-sports editor for the Eagle Eye.
At the end of last school year, she wrote for the quarterly print edition of the Eagle Eye about the unifying power of sports.
"The prevalence of sports in America is without a doubt, grand in its innate ability to bring people together and build necessary life skills in the players themselves." - Harris wrote.
Harris will be photographing the playoff game tonight.
"It's so fun for me," Harris said. "And then... hopefully [I'll] have a story waiting for me to edit, so we can get it up as soon as possible...because that's very important in journalism."
As for what students expect, Harris said she's just looking forward to being on the field at the game.
"I'm a very superstitious person, so I don't like to jinx anything," she said. "I hope we can pull it off, I think that would be amazing for our school."