CORRY - "1-2-3 Family!"
That was the way the Youngsville football team broke its final team huddle of the season. Appropriate, considering the way the town, and much of Warren County, has seemingly adopted this group of Eagles.
The number of fans grew slowly from game-to-game, but by the time Youngsville's playoff game with West Middlesex kicked off on Friday night, the home stands at Corry High School were filled with Eagles' supporters.
Times Observer photo by Mitch Wilston
A young Eagles fan sleeps on his father’s shoulder after a 47-0 West Middlesex victory over Youngsville on Friday in the District 10 Class A playoff quarterfinals at Corry Area High School.
"It really started with the Eisenhower game," ShaShawn Maze, the head of the Eagles Touchdown Club, said. "There were more people (at Eisenhower) than we expected. I was selling (Backyard Brawl) shirts and talked to some people I hadn't spoken with in (about) a year."
Maze added that the number of supporters coming out to support the team seemed to grow every game.
What was most remarkable about the number of people that came to Friday's game, was that they all provided their own mode of transportation to get there.
"Because (Corry) is so close, we didn't have any pep buses," Maze said. "It's just been amazing support."
"It's been a while since Youngsville was a true (united) town," quarterback Cory Craig said.
Even after Youngsville fell behind early in the game, the fans continued to cheer and do what they could to show the Eagles that they were still behind them.
"(The fans) know what the boys can do," Maze said at halftime. "They know the boys have the potential (to make a comeback)."
It wasn't just residents of the Youngsville area that came out to support the Region 2 Champions. There were many in attendance sporting letterman jackets from Eisenhower, Sheffield and Warren as well. Giving the Eagles the support not only of their hometown, but their county as well.
"We've really united the county," Craig said.
Many chose to stay for the entire contest, despite the fact that the Eagles dropped a tough 47-0 decision. The traditional post-game handshake line-in which fans stand in a single file line to shake hands with each player as they exit the field-stretched from the back of one end zone to the opposite 20-yard-line.
Understandably, many Eagles players shed tears after a tough end to the season. There were also many fans having to wipe the tears from their eyes as they waited to congratulate the team for the last time in 2011. Only words of encouragement accompanied the hug or handshake.
As Craig prepared to greet the fans for the final time, he was joined by teammate Sam Lucas.
"C'mon," Lucas said. "We go through together."
Together. As a family.