Friday night fever
Hey Hank Jr., these Tonganoxie High students definitely are ready for some football.
Complete with pompoms, flags and Chieftain designer shirts and jeans, a group of THS girls have been die-hard Tonganoxie pigskin fans since the beginning of the season.
Named the Chieftazzlerz BaDazzlerz by its founders, the group of nearly 20 girls roams the THS sidelines after each score.
The self-proclaimed pep club opened the season with a road trip to Wamego earlier this month and has been at the last two home games.
Right behind the BaDazzlerz at home games have been bare-chested soccer players and senior Ben Brest, who have spelled out C-H-I-E-F-T-A-I-N-S and G-O T-O-N-G-I-E during home games against Bonner Springs and De Soto respectively.
Making the band (of fans)
For the Chieftazzlerz BaDazzlerz, the inception of a club required some crafty work. The night before the season opener in Wamego, the group made up mostly of volleyball players met at Kelly Breuer's house to decorate its uniforms. The girls labored through a tedious night of shirt and jean customizing, working from about 5 p.m. to midnight.
"I want to say we had 20 girls spread out on the floor making shirts," Breuer said.
And the project also included some pick-up time.
"We had to clean the carpet," Rebekah Mages said.
But all of that work paid off.
Breuer's shirt reads "Chieftains" and "6" in honor of quarterback Justin Walker, while Mages' top is decorated with "28 Take 'Em to State", referring to running back Billy Baska. Mollie McCaffrey's shirt dons a tomahawk and a "T". McCaffrey's ensemble is complete with jeans that have "Chieftain" on the left front pant leg and "Power" on the other. The seat of Breuer's jeans reads "Touch", while Mages' says "Down".
As of Friday, Chieftazzlerz BaDazzlerz members, along with founders Breuer, Mages and McCaffrey, were: Kara Coffee, Maddie Weller, Ashlee Murphy, Addie Heim, Michelle McWilliams, Chanel Weide, Hannah Heintzelman, Aubery Koontz, Rachel Bogard, Tori King, Maggie Gratny, Ali Pistora and Sarah Hartshorn,.
If anyone else wants to join the club, Breuer has simple criteria to follow.
"You have to make a T-shirt and you have to have lots of Chieftain spirit," Breuer said.
I'll be the "T"
Right behind the BaDazzlerz at football games are the guys with red letters adorning their chests and stomachs.
Brest, Travis Andrews, Shane Cooper, Robert Kirsch, Travis Schultz, Derek Sparks, Luke Brown and Jason Brammer formed the letters Friday.
In an effort to show support for other sports and possibly receive some in return, Andrews said the skin painting is somewhat of an extension of junior high when he and classmates would serve as the sixth man for the TJHS girls basketball team.
"We always talked about how we'd have to do that again," Andrews said.
To keep that high energy consistent throughout the game, the fanatics have to eat.
The letter-wearers were on Week 2 of tailgating before the game, while the THS volleyball team had a pre-game barbecue this week, as did the Chieftain cross country team.
There likely will be more hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, watermelon and cantaloupe before future home games, but road games might be a different story.
As Breuer pointed out, it would be difficult to set up a grill on the road with volleyball practice usually finishing up at 5 p.m. Games kick off at 7 p.m.
Soccer players and Brest are in about the same boat with their respective practices.
Although it probably won't include hamburgers and brats, the group hopes to have a pregame meal on the road.
The group discussed having pizza serve as the away-game cuisine. What type of pizza might the boys order if they travel? Barbecue, of course.
The Chieftazzlerz BaDazzlerz might have more tricks in their bag. The members hope to acquire air horns for the next game, while Breuer said the group wants to look its best for Homecoming on Oct. 5 against Santa Fe Trail.
"We have to think of something really good for homecoming," she said.
That might be the night when members break out head-dresses. In the meantime, the girls plan to decorate hats to complement McCaffrey's paper Burger King crown. The senior acquired the hat on the way to Wamego. The group had to head straight from volleyball practice to the football game, so the girls grabbed some food at a Burger King in Lawrence.
McCaffrey said she will stick with wearing a Burger King hat although she may need a new one because this one has gotten wrinkled.
Along with their costumes, the BaDazzlerz wave old flags they discovered in the high school, while cross country coach Phil Williams now loans out his Chieftain flag to the group. And then there's the BaDazzlerz' pride and joy -- a white flag with a large red "T" that Steve Stein donated to the group.
It's probable that THS fans attending football games can hear the BaDazzlerz loud and clear. The group cheers loud and even has a few chants, including a "whoo" cheer Breuer said sounds like missiles.
"It's like Normandy," Breuer said.
Cheers aren't rehearsed , they're just "spur of the moment."
That seems to be the case for the boys as well.
On Friday, the group used a "song" from a Coors Light football commercial and added its own lyrics:
Playing two-hand touch,
Eating way too much,
Watching Chieftains win,
And the twins (refers to THS players BT and Kent Fleming).
The red, white and gold,
The score is getting old,
The Chieftains gonna win,
And the twins,
And I love you, too."
The bare-chested fans yelled the verses a few times throughout a chilly evening at Beatty Field.
But the weather wasn't a factor, according to Andrews.
"If you cheer right, it ain't cold," he said.
For the first time since the opener against Wamego, the Chieftazzlerz BaDazzlerz will hit the road.
Traveling in a station wagon, the group's leaders will make a much shorter jaunt this time to Leavenworth for a Kaw Valley League game against Immaculata.
"We'll decorate the Mages Mobile," Breuer said. "That's our transportation to road games."
If the boys' group has the numbers to assemble "Chieftains" or "Go Tongie" they will hit the road. Sparks said the team would definitely like to go to Shawnee in a few weeks for what looks to be a major KVL showdown.
"I think we're going to try to travel, especially to Mill Valley," Sparks said.
The BaDazzlerz, meanwhile, are focused on Friday's game against Immaculata, although Breuer said the group might experience some flack from the Raiders.
"It's their Homecoming, so we might get beat up," Breuer said.
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