It's homecoming week at MacArthur High School, but for senior defensive end Azriel Ngatcha, the mission remains clear: to defeat J.J. Pearce High School, a feat his team has yet to accomplish.
Ngatcha expressed his determination, saying, "We've never beat them. Every time we have lost, it has always been a close game; they always come out and beat us. I just want to beat them in my last year of high school."
Throughout the homecoming festivities, Ngatcha is staying focused on the game itself. He attended the Homecoming Kickoff Party on Monday but admitted it was mostly for the food. He plans to make a brief appearance at the dance, saying, "I plan on showing my face, taking some pictures, and then leaving."
Ngatcha's serious approach to the game aligns with his future aspirations. He intends to study business in college while hoping to continue his football career.
Interestingly, his football journey began with some resistance from his father, who initially opposed his son's desire to play. It took convincing, but Ngatcha's commitment won over his father's support.
"When he realized this was more than just something I wanted to do in my free time, he went out of his way and put me into training," Ngatcha explained. "But he also held me accountable. I had to keep my grades high, 90s and above, in order to be able to play."
Starting as a wide receiver at Travis Middle School, Ngatcha transitioned to linebacker during his sophomore year at MacArthur High School before finding his niche as a defensive end. His favorite moment on the field? Third down.
"I love being on the field. But when it's third down, it means being able to get off the field and giving my offense a chance to go score," Ngatcha noted. "I really look forward to third-and-long because I get to go rush the passer."
This Friday at 7 PM, Ngatcha and the MacArthur Cardinals will face off against J.J. Pearce High School, and he's ready to make an impact. He's also looking forward to the energy from the fans in the stands at Ellis Stadium, urging everyone to come out, have a good time, make some noise, and support their school's homecoming.