RALPHO TOWNSHIP, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s the eve of one of NEPA’s most important athletic traditions.

The Southern Columbia football team is looking to capture its’ fifth straight Class AA state championship Friday in Hershey. And Thursday night the community came together to drum up support for the players.

It’s the Tigers’ seventh consecutive year playing in the PIAA state championship game. Thursday night, hundreds rallied to provide some last-minute encouragement to this sensational team and senior class.

Cheers of support for the Southern Columbia Tigers football team echoed throughout the Ralpho Township Gym Thursday night.

“We’re all hyped up. It’s gonna be definitely emotional after the game, it’s our last game we’ll ever play as Southern Tigers, so we gotta go in and get gold and get out,” senior wide receiver Jake Rose said.

Rose says he’s ready to face off against the Serra Catholic Eagles Friday in Hershey. The pep rally has become a community tradition on the eve of state championship games.

“We’re very proud of the consistency in the program and again even though we’ve won it the last few years, it’s a different year, a different group of players and everybody’s excited about having another opportunity,” head coach Jim Roth said.

To get to this point, Roth says his team overcame many obstacles, including countless injuries. But parents like Mike Garcia say the Tigers are destined for greatness, no matter what happens on the field.

“That’s all I talk about, I love every one of them. I got four boys, and I can’t say it enough, I’m the proudest dad in the world. I got two that do great on a Friday night, and what else am I going to say, I’m a proud dad,” Garcia said.

Southern Columbia going for state title number five in a row.