Fireworks and a crowd of fans greeted the DeWitt High School football team when they returned home from Ford Field on Saturday night.
The Panthers have played in six state championships over the years. This was the first time they'd won.
“The second that we got off the bus, I think I knew that we were going to win,” said junior quarterback Tyler Holtz.
“Going down and scoring right off the bat -- we hit like a jump pass or something – that’s really when I knew that like, we came to play today and we were going to take it home,” said junior wide receiver Tommy McIntosh, wide receiver.
Fans met at the high school to show their support for the team before the players left for Ford Field.
“There was people lining the streets just waving to the bus. They had air horns, they had – it was crazy…just having that community support is great – having the community behind big games like this means the world,” McIntosh said.
“We play for our community and we play for the teams that came before us, so, having that support and being able to bring it home for them was everything,” Holtz said.
And fans were there to celebrate when the players made it back home after beat River Rouge 40-30 in the Division 3 championship game.
The last time DeWitt High School played in a state championship game was 2013, a game that both Holtz and McIntosh attended as spectators.
Holtz said the victory, “still, kind of, hasn’t really sunk in for me. I mean, it’s what we wanted to do – what everybody’s wanted to do since we started playing Junior Panthers in fourth grade."
McIntosh used tape to cross out the "un" in the "unfinished business" emblazoned across his T-shirt. Both he and Holtz agreed that their team was so successful this year because of strong leadership and strong friendships and said they were happy to bring home the win for Coach Rob Zimmerman.
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