Who ya rootin’ for? L-H-H-S
By Lance Catchings
Stephen Borrego and his wife Syville live on the Hall Ranch not far from the Liberty Hill High School campus.
Both are loyal fans of Panther football and on Friday night Stephen Borrego can be seen pumping up the Panther fans with the signature cheer, “WHO YA’ ROOTIN’ FOR?”.
Stephen and his wife have been part of the Liberty Hill community for many years although his wife was born in the rival town of Burnet.
“My wife calls me the cheerleader,” Stephen said with a laugh. “My wife was born in Burnet and raised in Georgetown. In 1980, we met in Austin, got married and moved to Dallas for about 16 years. We then moved to Liberty Hill when my daughter was in the second grade. My father-in-law has owned this land for about 60 years now and we are about 100 feet away from the stadium. We go out on the front porch and listen to the band play almost every morning.”
Not only have the Borregos been supporters of Liberty Hill High School and athletics, they have sent their own children and grandchildren through the school.
“I have two daughters,” he said. “My oldest went to Liberty Hill up until second grade and then we moved and my youngest daughter went from third grade all the way up and graduated in 2006. We have a granddaughter that graduated two years ago, and my grandson Lakota Lawrence is playing for the Panthers this year.”
When asked where he gets his football spirit and love for the game it dates to his younger years when he played on the gridiron. He also touched on the joys of finally having a grandson to cheer on from the stands.
“I was raised in an orphanage in Fort Worth that was very football oriented,” he said. “It was the smallest school district in the state of Texas. We were the Mighty Mites. The football team had a history for being the only class B school to beat a class A school and went all the way to the state finals. We grew up playing football all the time there. I had all girls as a parent, so I never had a grandson until Lakota came around. Lakota and I talk football all the time. I am beginning to think he has taught me more than I’ve taught him.”
Stephen said he has been cheering for Liberty Hill since the late 1990s and that he and his wife will travel to watch other high school teams when Liberty Hill is not playing.
“We have been yelling at Panther games since 1997,” he said. “We would go to all the playoff games even if Liberty Hill was not playing. One time we went to a Llano game when they made the playoffs. They were not playing Liberty Hill, but we went anyway. During the game, Llano was playing horrible and no one in the stands was cheering for them. We started cheering around halfway through the third quarter and they came back and almost won the game.”
His reasoning for being the one to pump up the crowd is simple. He believes it supports the players and is a way to stay involved with the game.
“If you are not involved as a member of the crowd then the game gets boring,” he said. “The more involved you are the more fun you have at the games. You also meet a lot of your neighbors at those games. We have seen that football teams do a lot better when the crowd is behind them. I have noticed that teams pull a lot better if they have the support in the stands. I believe the support of the kids is important no matter if they are playing or if they are not playing. We need to support our youth.”
He and his wife take pride in the success of all the Liberty Hill athletic programs although he is not a fan of everything that is changing.
“I am very proud of our athletic programs,” he said. “I really don’t like the growth of Liberty Hill, but I love the community itself. It is still a very warm-hearted community.”
If you find yourself in the stands on a Friday night you are sure to hear the signature chant before, during and after the game.
“The chant is an old chant that started going around way before I started attending games,” he said. “They used to have a parent or a football mom that would take it over each year. The problem is I think I got stuck with it for the last six years. The chant goes ‘Who Ya Rootin’ for? L-H-H-S’. The other chant we have is ‘one, two, three, First down!’ Then we also chant ‘Defense!’ The cheerleaders will even get behind me.”
The Borregos plan to keep attending games and supporting the Panthers whether they have family playing on the field or not. They enjoy the chance to support all the youth of Liberty Hill.
“Where else can you have fun for the little amount of money that it costs,” he said. “We will continue going after our grandson Lakota graduates. We have a grand baby that is 14 months old and we intend to see her graduate and keep on going.”
His only advice to the Panthers this season is to stay sharp in the playoffs.
“We hope our teams realize that anybody can beat anybody in the playoffs,” he said. “Our teams have to do their homework and their very best during these other games. If they get lazy, state will not be in their cards.”