When the Dragons secured their victory against the Knights on Saturday, Rachel Piles got right to work.
As the assistant bakery manager at Marsh, Piles is in the business of creating mouth-watering snacks. But Sunday, she was working on a special project. She took to icing cookies with red and white, the team’s colors, and crafting good luck messages.
The town’s only grocery store is prepping this week not only for Thanksgiving shoppers but for Dragon tailgaters who’ll head to Indianapolis for the big game or plan to hold pregame parties, she said.
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Along with all the usual grocery store offerings, a few special treats were in order, the staff decided.
“It’s going to be a very big week for the Dragons, and we want to show them as much support as we can,” store manager Matt Jones said.
Dragon pride is in Lisa Greene’s blood.
Greene, a 1988 New Palestine graduate, met and married Gary Greene, a 1985 New Palestine graduate, when she was a Dragon cheerleader and he was the team’s quarterback.
Gary Greene is now one of the Dragon coaches. The couple’s son, Logan Greene, followed in his father’s footsteps. The senior is a wide receiver and defensive back for the team.
Their youngest daughter, freshman Sarah Greene, is a Dragon cheerleader. Their oldest daughter, Emily Greene, also was a cheerleader at New Pal. She is now a junior at Ball State University.
Lisa Greene said this week is filled with Dragon pride.
“It’s exciting and little bit nerve-wracking,” she said. “But there is also a calmness surrounding the team.”
She said it’s been rewarding watching the hard work the players put in paying off.
“These boys have been playing together since they were little,” she said. “My husband has been coaching them forever, and it’s great to see them grow into the wonderful young men they’re becoming.”
Show of support
You can’t drive down Main Street for more than a minute without spotting a show of support for the Dragons.
There are signs all around New Palestine celebrating the home team, including a big red one that’s been up all season in front of the local branch of Greenfield Banking Co. It reads: “Believe” — a sentiment reflected by fans who have spent all season watching the Dragons dominate every opponent.
The guardrails on the town’s main road and street signs are decorated with red streamers to show the town’s Dragon pride.
The hallways are quiet this week with students on Thanksgiving break, but a sign in the driveway bearing the name of the student body’s cheering section — “Red Rage” — reminds athletes their peers are behind them. It’s surrounded by red streamers hanging from a large tree.
While administrators welcome the time off this week, they have mixed emotions about not having the students around to enjoy the fun that comes with being one of the top teams still standing.
“I feel kind of sorry for our kids and our football team because they don’t have the opportunity to enjoy this at school this week with the excitement of building up to it,” assistant principal Miles Hercamp said.
Some Dragon fans couldn’t be contained from showing their support.
Prior to school letting out last week, Mark Uhl, longtime Doe Creek Middle School art teacher drew a large Dragon on a good-luck poster that students then helped color.
Principal Jim Voelz said he, his students and staff love cheering on the Dragons and making sure the players know they have their support.
“When we can help create school and community pride, we go for it,” Voelz said.
And for longtime educators, watching the team succeed is a bit nostalgic, he added.
“There are so many former great Doe Creek students playing on this championship team,” he said.
While the students are on break, administrators and officials from the athletic department have been hard at work since the Dragons won the semistate game Saturday night.
They’re planning to have the school open today through Friday so fans can come in and buy tickets for Friday’s game. Individual tickets are $15 and go on sale at 10 a.m. today.
School officials said $1 from each ticket sold at the high school will benefit the athletic department.
School officials said they hope to have as many fans as possible at the game, all wearing Dragon red.
State Championship tickets on sale at New Palestine High School, main office area.
Today: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursday: 9 to 11 a.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (game day)
Game time 7 p.m. Friday, Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis