White Oak’s ‘MoJoes’ Keep Spirit High for Roughneck Basketball
Duke has the "Cameron Crazies." Texas A&M has the "12th Man." LSU has "Saturday night in Death Valley."
White Oak has the "MoJoes."
Anyone who has been to a White Oak sporting event is familiar with the raucous student section. The chants. The signs. The costumes.
But the MoJoes especially bring it for basketball.
The Roughnecks (35-1) defend their Class 2A state championship this weekend in Austin, starting with Friday's 8:30 a.m. state semifinal against Winnie East Chambers (26-9).
You better believe the MoJoes will be there.
"The MoJoes play a vital role for our team and in my mind, they are the premier yell squad in all of East Texas," said longtime White Oak basketball coach Ron Boyett, who is a White Oak graduate. "I believe they help to make E.B. Carrington Gymnasium one of the most difficult gyms in East Texas for visiting teams to play in. ... The MoJoes bring it every night."
Boyett said White Oak has always had a lively student section, but the MoJoes moniker came about in the 2005-06 season. Seniors Trevor Stagner and Kevin Floyd coined the name, which derives from "Mo Yell, Mo Spirit, Mo Wins" and White Oak's Joe Roughneck mascot.
Carson Andrews is this year's leader of the MoJoes. The White Oak senior played on last year's championship team, but he chose to head up this year's MoJoes squad while concentrating on tennis.
Andrews created a Facebook page for the MoJoes to organize their efforts, which he also does by word of mouth at school.
"Say I'm just roaming around during the lunch period," Andrews said, "I just go up to tables and say, 'You know, we've got a game so come out and support. Dress however you want but be crazy and be loud.'"
The MoJoes are definitely that.
If you've been to a White Oak basketball game, you've heard students berate officials and pester opposing players with typical sporting event heckling and an array of creative chants.
There's this one for when the MoJoes disagree with a call: "I'm blind! I'm deaf! I'm wanna be a ref!"
Or the tried and true chant for heckling opposing players who are called for a foul: "You can't do that!" *clap* *clap* *clap clap clap* (repeat)
Or perhaps what has become the MoJoes' signature chant, which was, coincidentally, invented by a basketball player: 6-foot-7 senior forward Levi Yancy.
"Oooo ... Aaaah ... Yeeaah ... Showtime!"
"He's the one who come up with it during last year in volleyball," Andrews said of Yancy. "I figured we should do this at the very start of the game every game, to get pumped up and show (the opponents) what we do."
Boyett has a fond "Showtime" memory.
"Last year at Austin as we prepared to tip off for the championship game, you could hear their 'Showtime' chant echo through the Frank Erwin Center and I could just see the look in our players' eyes as if they were back home in the friendly confines of E. B. Carrington Gymnasium," he said. "We gave last year's leader, Collin Bell, a gold medal to show our appreciation for the support that the MoJoes give our team. This year, Carson has taken over that role and done a superb job of leading."
Yancy's creation of the "Showtime" chant during last volleyball season and the tennis-playing Andrews' leadership are good examples of the all-around dedication the MoJoes have to White Oak athletics. Among the MoJoes, you'll find football players, volleyball players, girls basketball players, and other students.
"We have certain chants for certain sports," Andrews said. "Usually I announce it before we do the chants to let people know what we're about to do."
But this weekend in Austin, the MoJoes will be all about Roughneck basketball.
Friday morning in the Erwin Center, it's "Showtime."