Esports team expands game offerings, kicks off fall season

The logo for Rocket League, one of the most popular games for esports athletes (photo by

The logo for Rocket League, one of the most popular games for esports athletes (photo by

Nate Shull, Staff Writer

Homewood’s esports team recently started their fifth consecutive season, adding new games Madden and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to their existing Rocket League team.

For those not versed in gaming, Rocket League proclaims itself as the “high-powered hybrid of arcade-style soccer and vehicular mayhem,” which essentially boils down to car soccer. This popular game requires quick decision-making, deft reflexes, and one of the highest skill caps of any video game. 

The EA-owned and developed Madden franchise has been the most prominent football simulation video game for 34 years with its latest installment, Madden 23, hitting shelves in late August. The franchise has grown significantly since its initial release, now offering a wide variety of playable game modes. Today’s users can face off current NFL teams in a simulation-style game, build an “Ultimate Team” from players across generations, and much more.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the newest division of the Smash Bros. franchise, mashing up characters from dozens of Nintendo-affiliated gaming companies. In this quick-paced game, characters brawl to become the last fighter standing. Because of its near-infinite fighting combinations and outcomes, it has become an esports staple.

In-game screenshot of Madden (photo by IGN)

The Homewood Rocket League team got off to an exciting start on Thursday, Sept. 29, taking a 3-1 victory. The Madden and Smash Bros.’ Red teams both took a loss; however, the Smash Bros Blue Team picked up a win. 

This impressive season-opener did not come without practice. Team members consistently practice from home during the week, often playing ranked matches online. The team also tries to scrimmage as often as possible.

Theater teacher and video game enthusiast Jason Kennah coaches this year’s team and has high hopes for the season. He is especially looking forward to the new variety of games that have come onto the esports scene.

I am excited that we are expanding out to include Madden and Smash Bros,” says Kennah, adding that he is eager to include NBA2K (an NBA basketball simulation game with similar features to the Madden franchise) in the spring. 

In-game screenshot of Super-Smash Bros. Ultimate (photo by Wccftech).

This year, the Smash Bros. team piqued the interest of many students, filling two four-person teams. Before the additions of Smash Bros, Madden 22, and NBA2K, the esports team’s only game was Rocket League. 

Esports has not only grown in popularity at Homewood but in colleges as well, leading many universities to add esports to their athletic programs. In fact, 2022 Homewood graduate Yair Lopez is now a Rocket League competitor on the esports team at Mississippi State University.

While some of Homewood’s current esports members aspire to play collegiately, many are simply playing out of love for the game. One such player is Alexander Mohnen, a junior who has played on the team for three years. He plays Rocket League in both the spring and fall seasons. 

“My goal is not to be on a [professional] esports team, I’m really looking just to have fun and play the game that I love,” Mohnen says, adding that the game provides an opportunity to entertain his competitive side while still doing something he enjoys. 

The esports team not only offers students a platform to compete but also a way to express themselves while playing the games they love.