If you happen to pass through the city of Girard this week, don’t be surprised by the spirited frenzy visible in virtually every nook and cranny of the town.
It’s perfectly understandable considering Indian fever has swept Girard and its 10,000 residents with supercharged levels of community and school pride unmatched in the city’s history.
The Girard High School Indians team stands on the threshold of securing the Trumbull County district’s first state championship football team in the history of the school. If it does, it also would become only the 10th high school from throughout the Mahoning Valley to reap those superlative state- title honors in the five-decade history of state playoffs.
We therefore join legions of others in heartily congratulating the team, its coaches and its supportive community for the high honors that the championship 2018 season has produced.
The 80-plus member Indians team, led by head coach Pat Pearson, defeated Newark Licking Valley in a 53-48 nail-biter last weekend in Dover in the state semifinal game.
On Saturday night at 8, Girard will square off against Cincinnati Wyoming High School at the Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton for the Division IV state championship.
RESILIENCE OF GIRARD TEAM
In addition to talented and cohesive teamwork, this weekend’s sojourn to Canton most certainly is a tribute to the Indians’ resilience.
After all, the red and black of Girard High not that long ago appeared to stand light years removed from state championship material.
This year’s seniors, including nationally recognized standout quarterback Mark Waid, remember all too well the misfortunes and missed opportunities of their freshman season. In 2015, Girard High suffered an embarrassing regular season run of eight losses and two wins.
Since then, it’s been nothing but upward momentum toward this fall’s 13-1 winning record.
In the process, many winners have been produced. For players the game has built respect, loyalty, responsibility, self-discipline, sportsmanship and cooperation.
For the school, the game has built revenue for athletic and other programs while helping to cement school spirit.
For the greater Girard community, the game has fostered pride and tightened community unity.
That theme of winning is emblazoned on the championship shirts on sale to the community at Knightline Embroidery on West Liberty Street.
The shirts sport “WON” across the front, which stands as a clever double entendre.
First, hopes run high for a win in Canton. Second, homonym wordplay between won and one also accents the cohesiveness the championship game has produced with “one team, one town and one family.”
Quarterback superstar Waid takes that familial comparison to heart. As he stated at the conclusion of last weekend’s come-from-behind state semifinal game, “We’ve been in this scenario before. We’ve been down. We’ve been counted out. We don’t let it faze us.
“We’re a family. Girard is a family, and that’s what led us to victory tonight.”
From our perspective, the entire Mahoning Valley should consider themselves honorary extended members of the Girard family this weekend. The team’s talent, achievements and acclaim create ripple effects well beyond the city limits of Girard.
That’s why we encourage residents from throughout the region to show their support for the team and its football program.
Tonight, they can do so by attending what’s bound to be a high-spirited send-off of the team to Canton. It is scheduled to take place about 8 p.m. at the high school after the varsity football game.
Then on Saturday, we hope that stands at the Canton stadium are packed to the gills with enthusiastic Valley cheerleaders.
Go Girard! Beat Wyoming!