Instruments of Mass Distraction
Although Centennial’s football season came to an end Friday with a 45-24 loss to Dallas South Oak Cliff in the playoffs, the Spartans faced the Bears with their own secret weapon in the stands.
To say the Spartan Regiment, Centennial’s 135-member marching band, is a secret weapon may be stretching it a bit, as they are hardly ‘secret’ once they use their instruments to support their team
When the Regiment cranks up its so-called “locomotive defense,” the opposition’s offense has experienced a misstep or two.
“Our percussion starts the beat, which sounds like a train coming down the tracks,” band director Shawn Murphy said. “The horns and wind instruments take off their mouthpieces and blow into them, sounding like a train whistle.”
The rhythm and volume increase, throwing the opposing team a little off, according to BISD Athletic Director Phil Anderson.
“It’s legal what they do,” Anderson said. “If the umpire wants to stop them, he can. In high school, the band does not have to stop playing unless the official deems it necessary. They [the band] have caused other teams to jump offside or false start this season.”
Anderson believes the band gives the team an advantage.
“(Centennial band director) Shawn Murphy is into the ball game and knows exactly what he’s doing. He does a great job with the band and the Centennial band gets it,” Anderson said.
Murphy was highly complimentary of his band members, saying their hope was to be a positive factor during football games. Murphy said he appreciated the coaching staff as they are as supportive of the band as the band is of the team.
“We are blessed to have the teaching and coaching team we have here,” Murphy said, who is in his second year in the BISD.
“They’ve been a big difference since Mr. Murphy arrived,” Centennial head football coach Kyle Geller said of the Regiment. “He really gets them going; he’s in sync with what is happening on the field. When we are on defense, I hear them and I don’t hear much. I’m happy he’s a part of our team, they cause trouble for our opponents.”
The band prefers being as close to the field as possible, Centennial vice principal Scott Shaha said in hopes of causing the most chaos possible for the opposition.
“In Mansfield, we had to sit them up a section and they were giving me a hard time,” Shaha said. “The drum major kept yelling at me telling me they needed to be closer to the field.”
When Shaha showed band members a photo of Midlothian’s Stadium, where Friday’s game was played, they were excited about where they would be seated during the game, he said.
Superintendent Dr. Bret Jimerson is another big fan of the Regiment’s efforts this season in support of the Spartans football team.
“They electrify the place,” Jimerson said. “Man, they get the crowd energized I love being down on the field and the band cranks up. First of all, the band kids are into it, then our student section gets into it, they start their chants and then the whole crowd gets into it. This band is into the game. They tone it down on offense and turn it up when we’re on defense. They are there to be a part of the game and I love that.”