YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The countdown is on until kickoff for the Ursuline Irish state championship game.
Thursday afternoon, they held a pep rally before school let out to get everyone pumped for the big game.
First News talked to some students and alumni about why this game means so much to not only the players on the field, but also the people in the stands.
“The theme is green and gold and we just want to be there and be loud,” said senior Niccolas Sabella.
It was a sea of green and gold in Ursuline’s gym as the Ursuline family gathered to get pumped up for the football team’s state championship game.
“This state championship means a lot to the student body, to the players and coaches, and also to the entire Ursuline family so being able to come back to Ursuline and ring the victory bell one last time would be a really great experience for everyone,” said senior Madelyn Miklandric.
The band was playing, the cheerleaders were cheering and there were a few speeches, including one from 2001 graduate Simon Arias, who played on the team when they won the state title in 2000.
One of his biggest messages: don’t quit in the face of adversity.
“This is such a special community, Youngstown, Ohio,” Arias said. “Youngstown invented grit. This is such a hard-nosed city with such great people have went on to win championships, coach championships come out of Youngstown, Ohio — this is home.”
It’s just as big of a game for the players on the field as it is for the people in the stands cheering them on.
“Everyone’s really excited around here. I mean, it’s a big thing to make state and so I think everyone’s really happy and excited,” said senior Clancy Chrystle.
The goal is the same for everyone: beat Clinton Massey and hang up another banner in the gym.
“I hope we win and I hope we get that banner to take our senior year out with a bang,” said senior Briana Zelanka.
“It’s kind of bittersweet that it’s ending as our senior year but it’s also really exciting that it gets to be a state game and not a playoff game,” said senior Alexis Zalenka.
Ursuline also was escorted to the game
Kickoff for the game is at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Tom Benson Stadium in Canton.