NEW PALESTINE — Little Dragon fans offered big support this week to the local football headed to the state finals.
The youth groups at the New Palestine United Methodist Church have faith in the New Palestine High School football players as they get ready to play for the Class 5A state championship. Dressed in their “red rage” colors, children at the church showed their support for the team Tuesday by making posters, wearing Dragon shirts and sending the team good thoughts and prayers.
“They play pretty good, and it’s pretty cool to see them go all the way to state,” Kyler Bocock, a Doe Creek Middle School seventh-grader said.
Dressed in his state championship shirt from last year, Bocock, 13, said he’ll be at the game supporting the team. So will Carter Hacker, a New Palestine Elementary School fifth-grader, and his sister, McKenzie Hacker, who is in second grade.
“They’re a good team, and they play tough,” McKenzie said.
Carter said watching the team this year hasn’t just been a hobby; it’s been an inspiration to young athletes who hopes to don Dragon red one day.
“I’m a lineman in the youth league,” Carter said. “Seeing them play so great makes me want to play great.”
Church youth assistant Brooke Neal, a New Palestine High School senior, watches after the children at the church each day. She said it’s been exciting and somewhat surreal to be a part of what the team is going through.
“It’s been crazy to see how good they’ve been the past couple of years,” Neal said.
She’ll attend the game and said it’s been fun to hang around the smaller Dragon faithful this week as they, too, prep for the match-up against second-ranked Fort Wayne Snider.
Longtime church member Chad Cory has a son on the freshman team and said it’s been a special week for the entire football family.
“This is so awesome for this community and the kids here,” Cory said. “We’ve got a great coach and coaching staff there. What they’ve been able to do in three years time is amazing.”