ISHPEMING - This Sunday will officially be "Ishpeming Hematite Day" in the city of Ishpeming, in honor of the Hematites varsity football team winning the Division 7 state championship for the second year straight.
The day of celebration was decreed by Mayor Mike Tall and the rest of the city council at its December meeting. Council members offered the high schoolers effusive praise and congratulations as well as a round of applause for their victory over the heavily-favored Detroit Loyola Bulldogs at downstate Ford Field on Nov. 30.
People are encouraged Sunday to show their support for the team's accomplishments and their pride in the community by displaying Hematite-related signs or banners or by decorating with or wearing the school colors of blue and white.
Ishpeming High School junior Adam Loman, 17, waves a Ishpeming Hematite flag to get the crowd going during an IHS football game Sept. 20 at the Ishpeming Playgrounds. The football team is being honored by the city of Ishpeming with “Hematite Day”?on Sunday. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Tall said that he never used to watch high school football very closely, "but I'll tell ya what, it is a pleasure to watch those gentleman play ball," he said. From the declaration he read, "The Ishpeming Hematites football team exhibited determination, skill, poise, teamwork and sportsmanship throughout the 2013 season, while compiling an impressive record of 13 wins and no losses."
Tall said that to do what the players did on the field while also meeting all of their academic obligations was very special.
"They're terrific people and gentleman, and they have done a great deal for the city of Ishpeming as far as just being ambassadors from the city..." he said.
He praised Hematites coach Jeff Olson and remarked how the team's victory had united people not only within the local community, but across the Upper Peninsula and even the state.
"Under the patience and skillful guidance of coach Jeff Olson, the team has become a great source of pride within our community, as well as throughout the county, the Upper Peninsula and the state of Michigan," he said.
Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401.