The Old Forge High School football team is in the process of wrapping up a stellar regular season, clinching a share of the Division 3 championship with a 55-8 win over Holy Cross on Friday and improving to 9-0.
As the team gets ready to try and finish off its perfect season, before heading into the playoffs, they have been able to find a little extra motivation in knowing they have an entire community cheering them on.
Everybody in town is so excited for these kids, said Beverly Tomasetti, president of the Old Forge Quarterback Club.
Especially right now, we're (9-0) and I don't think any of these kids can go anywhere in this town without having someone coming up to them and telling them what a good job they're doing. We have an unbelievable fan base and it's growing by the week.
And these fans aren't jumping on the bandwagon, they start showing their support well before the season, be it through attending the team's yearly car wash over the summer, or by buying an ad in the team's advertising book.
A number of area businesses and groups like Colarusso's, Salerno's, Elio G's, Milano, Old Forge Veteran's Club and Felittese Association, just to name a few, have been able to visibly show their support each year by buying an ad in the book.
In addition to buying ads, restaurants Cafe Rinaldi, Arcaro and Genell, Marie's Diner and Agostini Bakery, as well as parents like Kandi Eigen and Lynne Marianelli, also donate food to be sold at the concession stand for each game.
It's a significant help because Arcaro and Genell will donate porketta, Rinaldi donates risotto, Marie's Diner usually donates sausage and peppers and Agostini usually supplies the buns, so if we don't have to spend our money, it's 100 percent profit for us, said Tomasetti.
The money made through the fundraiser and the concession stand helps the Quarterback Club put on the yearly football banquet and purchase the letterman jackets for the junior players, but it also makes the dining experience at an Old Forge football game something to be looked forward to.
I think it's unique to Old Forge, said Tomasetti. It's unheard of to get a porketta sandwich or a dish of risotto or sausage and peppers at any other high school football game.
We still do the regular French fries, mozzarella sticks and all of that, but in addition to that we have this, so this really is a boost and everybody knows it so we run out of a lot of these things even before halftime.
Cafe Rinaldi and Arcaro and Genell also take turns hosting a team dinner for the Blue Devils every Thursday.
They have a very good effect on the team, said coach Mike Schuback. The meals give the boys time to hang out and talk about things before the game we did in our pregame practice and a time for them to have some team unity following a week of practice.
And the one donation from the community that the team seems to appreciate more than anything is that of their time. Schuback said that the team can count on their fans filling up the stands no matter if the game is home or away.
I know from playing at Old Forge we always had a great following. The fans really travel well. Last year on most of our road games we had more people from Old Forge there than the home team, said Schuback.
Since I can remember, football meant everything to this town, and the people come out every week since I have been here.
Old Forge will travel to Susquehanna on Saturday, Nov. 3, for the last game of the regular season.