HOWELL – At halftime of every football game in the fall, one could look at the Howell student sections and see hundreds of students yelling with their hands in the air as if they were on a rollercoaster.
In front of that student section were two seniors, Brooks Grimes and Nick Scala, leading the way as they threw their hands to the left, then to right, up and then down, all while cheering for the Rebels.
The two 17-year-old seniors are the two men behind the @HowellRebellion account and are leaders of the student section, who make it known to everyone how much pride they have in Howell’s athletic teams.
“Everyone loves this movement and some even show me their ideas on what we should do at future events,” Grimes said. “It truly shows that we are coming together as one town and everyone is starting to proudly say that ‘We Are Howell.’”
According to Grimes, the Howell Rebellion started from the student body looking for a new way to support their sports teams and grow enough support to consistently motivate and show appreciation for all of the sports teams in the school all while giving the student body an “unforgettable high school experience.”
“I took over the account in February of my sophomore year right before the wrestling sectional finals at Brick Memorial. The Rebellion existed, but the account was at 37 followers and physically was nonexistent at games,” Grimes said. “We started going full time my junior year at football games bringing over 250 students in our home section and from there on out it was a snowball effect with school spirit running around the school.”
Since 2013, the Rebellion account has grown up to 1,322 followers and is still growing. Both of them wanted to account to be personable with the student body and provide humor at times and not be too proper.
“I think we revolutionized how school run accounts should be,” Scala said. “I love having fun while sending out tweets, so many accounts are taken so seriously, which can be so monotonous to read. I like to think every tweet is like a work of art, which can be interpreted a million ways.”
Grimes and Scala spend each day sending out tweets about upcoming games, scores of games, and trying to get the student body fired up about the Rebels.
“We keep in contact with all of the players, coaches, and managers to keep updated with the days festivities. To do this daily and still manage the rest of our day is certainly not easy, but to see a school come together is all worth it,” Scala said.
Patrick Ramsay, who is head coach of the boys basketball team, thinks the Rebellion twitter account is a great idea and his players love playing in front of their fans.
“Having a student following creates such a good atmosphere for the players to play in, it makes it enjoyable for them, the most memorable games these kids will have are when their fans were going crazy for their teams,” Ramsay said.
“The Howell Rebellion is up there as one of the best student sections in the shore along with Wall, CBA and Freehold Township,” Grimes said. “Everyone’s always cooperating, bringing face paint and even introducing underclassmen into new chants and traditions were starting at the school.”
Leading up to games, the Howell Rebellion isn’t afraid to get some pregame banter going with the opponent. For example, the night before the Rebels took on St. John Vianney, they tweeted out “730 puck drop tomorrow at ice world. Biggest game of the year against SJV. Be there and be LOUD #WhatsALancer“
“Nothing is ever intended to start out as wanting to actually fight another school, we just like to bring back the old school style of high school sports by smack talking the other team before or after games in a respectful yet competitive way,” Grimes said.
With Grimes and Scala graduating this year, the seniors have already started training the next person to take over the account next year.
“Junior Ryan Goodwin has shown plenty of support with games and we’ve brought him in by helping him do the chants at sporting events so he can be adequately prepared for next year,” Grimes said. “As the year goes on, we’ll be mentoring one or two, maybe even three, more leaders to take over the legacy next year.”
There is still over three months left in their high school careers and they look to make the most of it and the Rebellion account before graduation.
“You only get four years and you have to make them count.” Scala said. “Going to games really is the best way to spend your time, a great way to hang out with your friends and make some new ones too. Howell has always been a tight knit community through thick and thin, it’s a tradition that will never die.”
Brett Bodner: firstname.lastname@example.org