MERIDEN — Spirits were high at a pep rally at Maloney High School Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving football game against Platt.
The pep rally featured appearances by the cheerleaders, Maloney band, colorguard, drumline and dance team.
The event kicked off with Athletic Director Bob McKee rattling off a lengthy list of accomplishments by school teams so far this year, including the girls soccer team sweeping its series against Platt, victories for both the girls and boys cross country teams in the city championship, and swim team members Olivia Murphy and Jocelyn Rodriguez qualifying for the state championship.
The school’s football team also learned it qualified for the state playoffs, a first for Maloney since 2006.
The Maloney football team is 8-1 going into Thursday’s game against Platt.
“The fall athletic teams had a lot to cheer about this past season,” McKee said. “The football team has been on a heck of a run this year and has battled through a lot of adversity...even though they made the playoffs you don’t need to tell them what tomorrow’s game means to them.”
Maloney quarterback Larue Graham, 17, expressed confidence going into the game.
“I’m feeling really good,” he said. “I expect really good things out of this team.”
Varsity soccer player Olivia Bishop said students are more enthusiastic for sports this year.
“From the senior class there’s more spirit and people are more excited for it,” Bishop said.
The school’s cheerleading squad gave an energetic performance, blending dance moves with classic cheer formations. Cheerleader Dezrene Thompson said students were really “hyped up,” at the rally and was excited to show off the team’s new moves.
“We’re practicing some new stunts and some more advanced cheers,” Thompson said.
Maloney Principal Jennifer Straub said the pep rally fosters a sense of community and family at the school.
“To come together like this and be able to hoot and holler is great,” Straub said. “The students are celebrating each other’s successes.”
“It brings everyone together to celebrate all the athletes and to send the football team off for tomorrow’s big game,” McKee said.