Sporting black war paint across her cheek, 17-year-old Kelsey Jean-Jacques lifted up her sweatshirt to reveal her black-and-yellow-painted stomach, confirming her school spirit.
She then quickly covered up. It was 40 degrees and the few seconds made her shiver.
The St. Anthony’s High School senior was among the hundreds of students and fans cheering on the Melville school during its homecoming game against its rival, Mineola’s
Chaminade High school, on Friday night.
After all, it was an important game for the St. Anthony’s Friars.
Its bitter rival, Chaminade High School in Mineola, took the Catholic High School Football League title away from them last year, after St. Anthony’s had won nine of the previous 10 CHSFL crowns and had been in the finale every year since 1999.
“We hoped we’d crush them this time,” Jean-Jacques said. “And I think we will because we have even more school spirit this time around and we’re serious about this game.”
Jean-Jacques and her friend Meagan Joseph, 17, couldn’t even get past the stairs to sit in the stands because it was so packed. Fans leaning against each other chanted “I believe that we will win” over and over again until switching to “Go Friars, Go.”
And their chanting didn’t go to waste. St. Anthony’s defeated the Flyers, 38-10.
At halftime, homecoming king Brendan Cunningham, 17, and queen Elise Easton, 17, were paraded around the track from a golf cart filled with balloons.
Kerry Gallagher, the mother of senior Quinn McMillan, who plays defensive tackle for the Friars, had her friend join her in dressing in black and wearing yellow mustaches.
“I thought it would be fun to wear these mustaches,” said Gallagher, 45, of Merrick. “This is a huge game to our family and a huge game to Quinn. It’s too exciting to be cold.”