FACTORYVILLE, Pa. -- A high school football team from a school district in Wyoming and Lackawanna counties clinched their spot in the state championship after winning the Eastern final on Friday. The community is rallying behind the Lackawanna Trail Lions and the 27 players that make up the team.
A parade of fire engines and school buses in Factoryville Friday night was just the start of the celebration.
The Lackawanna Trail football team is going to the state 1A championship game, the first in the school's history.
"The energy in the building is fantastic," said high school principal Mark Murphy. "The students are really excited. The community has been supportive. We can't be happier for the kids."
Principal Mark Murphy calls the Lions an easy team to root for, and that's exactly what the community is doing.
"As a school district, we don't budget for these things. We hope our students get here, but there's obviously a huge financial component to it as well. They've been great at providing everything from food to buses, to whatever will support the kids, even equipment along the way as well."
"My dad went to Lackawanna Trail, my uncles, brothers, sisters. This is just absolutely amazing. We are so proud of our boys, some of them do work here at Gin's and we just high five them every time they walk through the door," said Sandy Kostick at Gin's Tavern.
Students have the day off from school Thursday, and there will be a watch party at Gin's Tavern in Factoryville.
"Just thought it would be a great day to gather and support the kids, especially for some older folks who really can't drive three hours to Hershey."
At Dairy Queen near Clarks Summit, employees are making and selling ice cream cakes to support their Lions.
"I'm from a small school. I'm from Dunmore. When we go to states, the whole area is right in. When a school that's 27 students goes to a state championship game, it's kind of a big deal," Kayla Tobin said.
Principal Murphy tells us that one game this season, the opposing team asked where the rest of the players were when the Lions got off the bus. Just 27 players make up this Lackawanna Trail football team.
"I can't tell you the warmth and the feeling of our boys from this little country town going to Hershey. We're making it on the map finally. It's about time."
The school will host a pep rally Wednesday night, then a sendoff Thursday morning. The Lackawanna Trail Lions play Farrell from northwestern Pennsylvania on Thursday, 1 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium.