MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (KFVS) - Murphysboro, Illinois has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
This semester the town bounced back from a teacher strike, and now their football team playing in it’s first championship game Friday, November 29.
Loud sirens and and cheers from Red Devil fans were echoing down streets in town on Thanksgiving afternoon.
It was a sign of support for the Murphysboro football players and coaches as they drove out of town to their first championship game in school history.
“Just to know people support you is awesome," said head coach Gary Carter. "It’s emotional. You know I’ll probably have a tear in my eye when I’m going through town so.”
Luke Griffin grew up in Murphysboro and made a special sign just for the parade. He hopes to have all of the football players sign it.
“It’ll chill you to the bone. It goes from head to toe," Griffin said. "It’s tremendous to see everybody come together like this.”
Murphysboro had to forfeit one game during a five-day teacher’s strike in early October.
Griffin believes overcoming that adversity set the team up as an underdog.
“I’m so proud of these boys. I know most of the parents," Griffin said. "It’s been tough for these kids, but you know what they’re one tough team. I’ve been watching them throughout the playoffs and I’ve never seen one player give up.”
Coach Carter said the 11 and 2 football team is prepared to take the state trophy Friday and have been dreaming of the opportunity their whole life.
“With the strike and everything, this is kind of a healing thing to win and have success," Carter said. "It’s a testament to our kids and our coaching staff. I’m just thankful to be playing at this time and to have a chance to win a state title.”
The mayor of Murphysboro rented two buses for fans to go up to watch the game in person and many community are making the more than five hour road trip up to Dekalb, Illinois.
“We’re going to be there and we’re going to root them on," Griffin said. "And we’re going to bring the championship trophy back to Murphysboro, Illinois.”
The final playoff game of the season will be played at Northern Illinois University inside Huskie Stadium at 7 p.m.