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The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

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Double trouble featuring Cedric Walls

Junior ‘Dawg juggles responsibilities on and off the field for both band and football
Austin Ikard
ONE TWO THREE MARCH: Cedric Walls gets into position at halftime of the Bowie-Westlake game. The Bowie band performed at the Bands of America Nationals in early November.

The first half ends and the football team heads to the locker room.

Except one.

Junior Cedric Walls goes to grab his trumpet and gets into formation to perform at the halftime show with the rest of the Bowie band.

Despite his simultaneous success, Walls’ teammates were unaware of his versatility and achievements in both programs, including wide receiver Carmine Elisarraraz.

“I was a bit shocked. I’m not gonna lie, because I thought he was kidding,” Elisarraraz said. “I had always heard that he was in band, so when he went out to perform with them at halftime I couldn’t believe it.”

Walls has performed for the band numerous times throughout the football season during halftime. Pairing these responsibilities with being the starting left guard on the football team would deter many from doing both, but Walls chooses to persevere.

“Honestly, I don’t know how I do it sometimes,” Walls said. “Even with my busy schedule I still love them both and wouldn’t quit either for the other.”

Walls’ story is viewed by many as an anomaly. The head band director, Jennifer Hanford, can’t believe that he was able to do both.

“Some schools don’t allow for people to do both at the same time,” Hanford said.  “So, we were happy to help make it happen for him this season.”

With the ensemble of support that Walls has received, the task of switching between football and band has been easier.

“The band members have always loved football, but we’ve never had someone who was in the program and in football,” Hanford said. “So, now they are even more engaged because they have a friend to cheer for on the field.”

Walls has accumulated years of experience in both football and band, coming to learn that he can succeed on both fields.

AUDIBLE! AUDIBLE!: Junior Cedric Walls listens for the audible called by the center against Akins. The Bulldogs ended up beating the Eagles 56-7 to pick up their fourth win of the year. (Austin Ikard)

“I have been playing this amazing game for about 12-13 years and I’ve played trumpet for about six years,” Walls said. “So I’ve basically been playing both at the same time for my whole life.”

Walls’ schedule can get pretty hectic. However, he is able to persevere by remembering his original reasons for continuing both throughout his high school career.

“The thought of quitting one to do the other full time has crossed my mind, but the community and companionship that both have are worth the nonstop business and grind,” Walls said. “It isn’t all bad though, I find time for myself and to have fun with friends.”

Since band and football take place in the same season, Walls occasionally has to decide which practice to attend, but this hasn’t caused significant issues for the football squad. The practices he has missed hasn’t caused trouble for the band either.

“It definitely hurts when he’s out but we have a really good backup and Cedric always makes sure to keep up with play calling so he won’t miss a beat,” Elisarraraz said.

Having to miss practice has not only affected the football team. The band practices their show frequently, and Hanford has had to adapt to Walls’ absence from rehearsal.

“We have Cedric sharing a spot with another talented trumpet student,” Hanford said. “So, in the time that Cedric is not at rehearsal, that spot will not be empty.”

Given the rough and physically demanding nature of football, Walls is able to find peace in band that he sometimes can’t get in football.

“Band is a relaxing change of pace allowing me to not be afraid to talk and being able to have fun in a different way than I do with football,” Walls said.

Being in band has also provided an unexpected benefit, which has helped Walls excel on the offensive line this year.

“In a sport like football you need quick feet,” Walls said. “The dancing we do in band allows me to be a little bit more relaxed and nimble which helps me play my best in the game.”

With the football team losing a significant amount of starters going into the season this year, Walls was forced to take on more responsibility.

“He definitely became a huge leader this season,” Elisarraraz said. “The offensive line lost some guys last year and now the younger guys on the offensive line look up to him and so does the team overall.”

With the Bulldogs football making the play-offs the schedule got complicated for Walls. The same weekend the first round of playoff starts also happens to be the Bands of America Grand National competition which the Bowie band qualified for. It meant Walls had to make a decision.

“I will be going to the Grand National with the band, meaning that I won’t be at the football game,” Walls said. “So, the coaches weren’t too happy to hear that the team would be without their starting left guard for our first playoff game against McNeil.”

This hard decision is one of many to come, however this decision hasn’t given Walls any doubts about continuing his journey.

“The plan is to keep going with band and football and finish high school doing both,” Walls said. “One, so I can get my letterman jacket for both, and, two, because a half-football, half-band letterman jacket would go so hard.”

Walls motivation to continue looks past this year as he wants to set a precedent for his children.

“I want to keep going so I can tell my kids your dad did band and football so you can do whatever you put your mind to,” Walls said.

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