ALTO, Texas (KETK) — The scars from a tragic April night still linger on the Alto campus, physical wounds that have started to heal, providing a backdrop for Alto Yellow Jackets football.
“Create that steady pattern and that steady routine,” said head coach Ricky Joe Meeks. “So it just helps get some normalcy back in our kids’ lives.”
“The tornado that happened, everyone was just in shock we’ve been trying to clean up and get everything back to normal,” said linebacker Cayle Irvin. “School helps and us getting back on the football field allows us to be normal again.”
Being normal for the Jackets means regularly being in contention for a district title, and beyond, and the expectations are no different this season.
“Older guys, they left us a legacy at Alto, we got to show out in our senior season,” said Harmon West.
West plays quarterback on offense, and hunts them on defense, as a linebacker.
He, like others on the team, start on both sides of the football, but hey, that’s normal in Alto.
“Since 7th grade I’ve played both ways, it’s just kind of how it is here,” said West. “People got to go both ways and we love it, we live by it.”
The Jackets return 15 starters, including a high powered rushing attack, spearheaded by Vi’Darious High, along with a vicious Mean Sting defense, normal for Alto.
“Everyone expects us to win, expects us to be the best version of us every year and to compete at a high level, and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Irvin.
So, is Alto getting back to normal? Well, that depends.
Because normal for this community, and this team, well that’s some of the most unique stuff you can find, in East Texas.
“I think football is a way of life here in Alto, and I think it just brought us together way more than we were before,” said West.
Alto kicks off the season at home on Aug. 30 against Palestine Westwood.