Kenny Banza


Pranu Sudabattula, Writer

The field lights are bright, the scoreboard rings, the student section roars, and that’s the end of the third quarter. It’s crunch time for Kenny Banza and the Copper Hills football team. 

The Copper Hills High football team has not been known for being the winning team, but the 2022 season changed that. Kenny Banza, a junior at Copper Hills, fell in love with football when he was 14. He quickly became one of the star players. With inspirations such as Tod Gurley II and Bo Jackson, Banza has always had his eyes on the prize. 

The 2022-2023 season was less than ideal for the Copper Hills Grizzlies,  who wanted to prove to himself and the spectators that they could win. It pushed him to improve and do better. He wanted to lead the team by example. Banza wanted the team to focus more on the game rather than the individual reputations of the players. 

The urge for change pushed the team to break the rival team’s mentality of, “it’s just Copper Hills, easy win, they don’t care.” “After the third game last year, the team gave up,” said Banza.  Improving together would get them to the playoffs. Kenny knew that from day one. Day after day the team worked hard, and then one day, it hit them that they could win. 

Copper Hills won their first homecoming game in 24 years. The student section is roaring as the points on the scoreboard go up for Copper Hills. Backflips are being done off the bleachers as the team runs to each other to celebrate. That night Banza had scored a total of 16 points for the team. 

Banza hopes to keep improving and help carry the team into greater victory next year. When asked about pursuing football after high school Banza had said, “Of course, however only 6% of football players make it pro, but that won’t stop me.” 

Banza believes that football offers a lot to players. He said, “Those guys are my brothers, they are my family.” Alongside that, he believes football gives the players a greater sense of self. “Football teaches you leadership skills, discipline, shows you progress, and how to grow,” Banza said. He hopes to go into psychology and become a school counselor to show students how to use those skills in a day-to-day and give back. 

When asked about what football has taught him, Banza responded with, “Nothing is guaranteed, you have to work for it. People will count you out, but you have to prove them wrong. Push yourself harder to improve, once you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up.” As the Grizzlies were improving there was still lots of work that needed to be done. The last game that was won was the homecoming game, however that is a step in the right direction. “As long as we continue to work together as a team, we will continue to make progress,” said Banza.

 One thing Kenny has to say to any incoming players is, “It gets hard, but everything that comes out of it is worth it. We have seen that we can win, have a lot of talent, and are going to have a winning season.“