It's one of the most anticipated games in our region -- the Honaker Tigers are making a return appearance in the state championship football game Saturday. Students, teachers, and the entire community are buzzing with excitement.
Students, teachers, and an entire community are rallying together to support their hometown heroes. Those stands in Salem won't be empty Saturday; News 5 learned about 1,000 tickets to this game were dropped off at the high school and within days they were sold out.
Everyone says this game is well deserved and long overdue after losing the championship game in 2000.
School spirit seemed to be rushing through the hallways Friday with students sporting orange and black, and some busy wishing luck to their football team. "We're really excited for our boys. Teachers just decided to drop classes today because they knew no one would get anything done," said student Taylor Richardson.
Around every corner there were cheers, especially as the football team entered the cafeteria. But those cheers have been growing since last week. "That's the loudest we've ever had the crowd. The boys said that they could hear the crowd," said student Morgan Stacey.
Football players say it's that support that helped the team tackle through a tight game to have the chance to play in this weekend's state championship game. "It's really like a dream come true, all of us since we were in pee-wee football, we've always dreamed of going to state championships," said team captain Blake Ray.
The team is expecting a nail-biting game this Saturday in Salem against the George Wythe Maroons out of Wytheville. "Two southwest Virginia teams, that's all we know down here is hard-nose football. Two great football teams both of us 13 to 1," added Ray.
Pride stretched throughout Honaker with signs of support. "We are a small town, but we are a big town when it comes to our team and our boys," added resident Christine Steele.
A school of just more than 500 students, roaring with pride as the tigers head to the football field.
The game kicks-off Saturday in Salem, Virginia at noon. We'll have a crew there with highlights. News 5 checked with Coach Doug Hubbard; he's expecting a tough physical game with lots of power-running, and it's going to be a big test of will.