ARCHBALD, Pa. — Hand a drummer his sticks and a cheerleader her pom poms on the morning of a Friday night football game, even before the sun comes up, and the school spirit switches on instantly.
"I'm feeling fantastic. The [Scranton] Prep game is always great, they're like our biggest rivalry, and it's senior night, so I'm feeling good about the game. I'm so excited," said senior Della Noone.
"I'm so excited. I know last year, this game had a lot of energy. It was the best game of the season by far, and I can't wait to be there tonight," said junior Ella Mattise.
There's a lot that makes a student section at a Friday night high school football game special. That's what Valley View senior class vice president L.V. Pegula will miss the most next year when he's off at college.
"I think just the atmosphere on game day in the school, even starting at 7 o'clock, all throughout the day getting to the game, and to just be in the student section with all of our friends, there's nothing like it."
On this Friday morning, students in the marching band and cheerleading squad started getting amped up a lot earlier than 7 o'clock. They were up with us on Newswatch 16, beginning at 4:30 a.m.
Coach George Howanitz wasn't surprised.
"Our kids will come out tonight and cheer us on really loud, and you'll get the same kind of atmosphere every week," said the coach.
But there's more than just the music and the cheers that get the football players hyped up.
"Every Thursday night, we have a tradition where we do pasta parties, so being together as a team for dinner definitely brings up that spirit," said senior Lily Nemeth.
If the seniors have a lot to miss next year, eighth graders Eva and Courtney have a lot to look forward to.
"I can't wait to be in the student section next year and show my Cougar spirit!"
Friday night's game is the last in the regular season for Valley View. Then the Cougars are on to the playoffs.
Check out Super 16 Sports Finales on YouTube: