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Rival Warrensville Heights's marching band steps up to play for Glenville during state championship game

Posted at 8:28 AM, Dec 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-08 11:00:56-05

CLEVELAND — It’s tough to think about high school football without thinking about the band. They’re the soundtrack that goes along with the Friday Night Lights.

For Glenville High School, that’s exactly what has been missing all season long as the Tarblooders made history on their way to the Division IV state championship. The school doesn’t have its own marching band, so a local school played the role for the state title game last weekend.

“When I found out, it was something new. I’ve never done anything like this,” said Warrensville Heights High School senior Dashara Jones. “Whenever we play, we always play for our home team; we never play for anyone else.”

But the opportunity to play in the state final and bring Warrensville Heights High School and Glenville High School together was an opportunity the band was immediately excited about. Particularly, students relished the chance to be a part of history as Glenville became the first Cleveland Metropolitan School District to win a state championship on the football field.

“I was happy to support the team of Glenville. Because they worked hard to get there. They practice day in and day out,” said Reginald Turner. “It definitely motivated me to get out there on the field and do my best. It was being a part of history. So that also motivated me too, knowing we will be mentioned years down the line. My family might hear about this one day.”

The Warrensville Heights High School marching machine didn’t find out about the chance to play for Glenville until the Wednesday before the state title game. The band wasn’t given the green light until Thursday afternoon, leaving just one day to prepare for the performance.

“We all got really hyped up and all that. People were cheering us on when we were marching in,” said freshman Aaron Garrett. “People were cheering us on when we were doing the halftime performance and playing in the stands. Even after the game, it was people going crazy for us and Glenville after they won.”

Garrett had family that attended Glenville, so he felt a little extra pride in performing at halftime as the Tarblooders took down the Cincinnati-area Wyoming High School 26-6 to win the Division IV state championship.

“They told me about this before I left and I was like ‘I hope to god they win,’” he said. “Because we perform for them, you used to go there. It was all deja-vu or something like that.”

Seeing the Tarblooders accomplish history gave the band an extra boost for their performance. Bringing the two schools together was a unique opportunity that school leaders are proud they were able to collaborate on.

“We all grew up and we were rival schools,” said marching band instructor Donshon Wilson. “You set everything else aside and bring that community together. Bring school districts together. Bring students together for one common goal, you can’t beat that.”

On Thursday, December 8, the City of Cleveland will celebrate the Division IV state champion Glenville Tarblooders with a parade and rally.

The team, Coach Ted Ginn and city leaders such as Mayor Justin M. Bibb, CMSD CEO Eric Gordon and Council President Blaine Griffin will begin the motorcade parade at Glenville High School at 10 a.m. and travel to Cleveland Public Hall for a rally and victory party.

RELATED: Watch the Glenville football team's parade in Cleveland

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