Central Catholic High School football team captains from left to right Ian Butler, Mitch Cochell, Jeff Dew, and Amir Edwards present the team's trophies to the school.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
Hundreds of people packed a pep rally at Central Catholic High School today to celebrate the football team's second state championship since 2005. It was an emotional, action-packed scene with clanging cowbells, blaring horns, and dancing fans.
The Fighting Irish defeated defending Division II champion Trotwood-Madison 16-12 on Friday at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.
"It's been a crazy 18 hours, with very little sleep," Central head coach Greg Dempsey told the enthusiastic crowd gathered in the school's Sullivan Center.
Fans chanted "We're state champs" before the football team was introduced; the celebration featured spirited performances by the band and cheer-leaders.
Among the many fans was Bob Rerucha, a 1957 Central alumnus who struggled to explain his excitement and pride. "It's just wonderful."
Central freshman Jayson Cleghorn, a kicker on the school's freshman team this season, said he was inspired by the Fighting Irish's state championship. "It really makes you want to play harder so that we can win another championship," he said.