It’s homecoming week, but the mission has not changed for MacArthur Cardinals Defensive End Azriel Ngatcha. Officially at the halfway point of his senior season, he wants to make sure he accomplishes at least one thing – defeat J.J. Pearce High School.
“We’ve never beat them. Every time we have lost, it has always been a close game; they always come out and beat us,” says Ngatcha. “I just want to beat them in my last year of high school.”
That’s Ngatcha’s mentality heading into this week’s homecoming game. While he participates in the week’s festivities, he’s more concentrated on the game itself.
“I went to the Homecoming Kickoff Party on Monday, but that was really more so I could get some food,” says Ngatcha. “I am going to the dance, but I’ve been telling everybody that I plan on showing my face, taking some pictures and then leaving.”
As you can probably tell, Ngatcha is strictly business, which, ironically enough, is what he plans on studying in college while hopefully continuing his football career.
Speaking of playing football, his father was not too keen on letting him play at first. It took a great deal of convincing on his part to finally allow him to play in seventh grade.
“I always wanted to play, but my dad didn’t let me,” Ngatcha says as he chuckles. “When he finally allowed me to play and I went to try out, I guess I was pretty good at it since I was placed on A-Team.”
His father was a bit skeptical at first, but once he saw that his son was committed to the sport, he too became invested.
“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,” he says. “But he also held me accountable. I had to keep my grades high, 90s and above, in order to be able to play.”
As a member of the Travis Middle School football team, Ngatcha played wide receiver. He continued in that position until his sophomore year at MacArthur High School, where he would transition to playing linebacker. However, he has truly found his niche as a defensive end. His favorite moment during the game? Third down.
“I love to play, and 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,” he says. “I really look forward to third-and-long because I get to go rush the passer.”
While Ngatcha is ready to lay the hammer down this Friday at 7 PM against J.J. Pearce High School, he is excited to feed off the energy from the fans in the stands at Ellis Stadium cheering his team on.
“Our current record may not show it, but we have some great players on our team. Come on out, have a good time, make some noise, and support our school’s homecoming!” says Ngatcha.