WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Warren JFK Eagles rang the bell with the entire student body Tuesday afternoon, three days after winning the Division VII State Championship.
“We had a great crowd Saturday when we got the job done and won the state championship, so it’ll be a good one again today,” said senior Ross Nocera.
Despite the rain, everyone was loud and energetic when welcoming JFK’s first state championship football team since 1991. Students even wore their new 2016 state championship hoodies.
The celebration of the season’s hard work lasted five minutes. Even though the JFK Eagles are 72 hours removed from their 24-6 victory over Minster, the feeling has yet to set in.
Jacob Coates, a senior, led one last prayer with the team. He says the emotion of winning a state championship hasn’t hit him yet.
“We’ll realize really what it means to us a couple years down the road, when we have kids, maybe. I think it’ll really set in down the road.”
Even though winning it all is always the goal for a sports team, if someone told the players four years ago that they’d be state champs, they probably wouldn’t have believed it.
“We went 2 and 8 our first two years. It was really a struggle, but Coach [Jeff] Bayuk brought us back,” senior Ryan Lee said. “I would always tell them, ‘We’re back with Bayuk and we’re stronger than ever.'”
Principal Joe Kenneally says this year was a fairy tale season for the school.
“It tells the community we are alive and strong. There’s been so many rumors that JFK is dying, JFK is closing in two years. We’re alive and strong. We’re putting a quality product on the field, we’re putting an exemplary product in the classroom.”
At Tuesday’s celebration, there was one ring of the bell for the football team’s defense, another for the student section and 14 for all of the seniors on the team.