Friday Night Lights With the Mighty North Atlanta Warriors

Sophomore wide receiver #8 DeShawn Merritt looks on.

Friday Night Lights. There’s really nothing like it. And for the North Atlanta football Warriors, there’s been nothing like their 2020 gridiron campaign. A global pandemic has impacted everything, including the lives of the players who go to battle each weekend for their high school. When playing at home at Grady Stadium, the team battles before empty stands, wide grandstand expanses devoid of the typical rowdy North Atlanta student section, proud parents, and ever-faithful supporters of the Mighty Dubs. For this unforgettable season in an empty Grady Stadium, a saving grace for the team has been the morale-enhancing efforts on the part of the spirited North Atlanta varsity cheerleading squad that faithfully keeps spirits bright from the sidelines.

  The football team is under the leadership of head coach Jamie Aull. The team’s roster is comprised of some 62 brave young men who have elected to continuously sacrifice to represent their Buckhead-based school, the largest high school within the Atlanta Public Schools system, a colossus on Northside Parkway that still sits empty as the school’s entire student body still endures an prolonged remote-education chapter. For the players, their season started early. Team members practiced across sweltering summer afternoons, have spent countless hours in the weight room, and have endured the ongoing complicated tightrope of COVID-related protocols – all to play the sport they love.

This photo essay is comprised of photos from two recent Warrior games, including the team’s narrow 11-to-8 loss to Tucker on Oct. 16, and a 31-to-17 loss to Langston Hughes on Oct. 23. The impressive collection is the work of photographer Dave Quick. The North Atlanta parent has extensive professional photographic experience, including past high-level sports league assignments for the Associated Press and Reuters. For this season, he has devoted his sports photography craft toward profiling the brave Warriors who so nobly represent their school on these unforgettable Friday nights in fall 2020. For this photo essay, photo curation and photo caption credits go to Warrior Athletics Boosters officer CeCe Coleman, (who is also a proud football team parent). Of course, ample credit goes to photographer Quick. And more than anything we all say: “Fight on Warriors! Go Dubs!”