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A large crowd came out to a pep rally in support of the Danville High School football team on Thursday night.

DANVILLE — The only thing hotter than the Danville High School football team on Friday nights was the Danville High School football team on Thursday night.

While the Ironmen have been torching opponents on the gridiron all season — they’re 10-0 heading into tonight’s first-round District 4 playoff game against Wyalusing — on Thursday night they were riding high again, this time atop fire trucks.

Several hundred people watched as 15 fire engines carried about 30 players to a bonfire at the Danville Middle School.

The blaze began around 7 as the sirens of all those fire trucks sang throughout the streets of Danville.

“This is awesome,” said 8-year old Kevin Mack, of Danville. “Hearing those trucks was so cool.”

As the players left the engines, they were greeted by fans giving them high-fives and cheering.

Loudly.

“You guys are great,” yelled a fan.

“You guys will go all the way!” Principal Lee Gump said he wasn’t shocked by what he was witnessing.

“I anticipated this because of all the buzz going on in town,” Gump said. “This is a great way for the Danville community to come together.”

Cheerleaders danced and celebrated with fans well before the guests of honor arrived.

“We are excited to cheer for the players,” said sophomore cheerleader Taylor Mahaffey.

“This is so great.”

Members of the Kozick family, of Danville, said they came to the celebration because they wanted to support the squad.

“It is good for the community and great enthusiasm for the team,” said Rick Kozick.

“It is a special thing.”

Seven-year old Connor Koz ick made a bold prediction.

“We will win the state championship,” Kozick said. “I already know we will.”

Danville residents Dick and Pauline Umstead said they have missed only about 10 games in 30 years, and Dick decided to dye his beard orange in support of his team.

“I did it for the bonfire and to show them we care,” Umstead said. “My wife would not dye her hair, though.”

Head coach Jim Keiser said he was a bit taken aback by all the people in attendance.

“I’m surprised at this turnout,” Keiser said. “This absolutely shows what kind of community support we have.”

Athletic director Ron Kanaskie said he has never been part of something so big.

“There is no greater town and no greater school and no greater place on earth than right here in Danville, Pennsylvania,” Kanaskie said. “This is a team of leaders, and we are so proud of all of you.”

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