From KWQC-TV6's "The Highlight Zone"...

DANVILLE, Iowa (KWQC) - Since 2016, the stands in Danville have remained empty on Friday nights in the fall, but that is about to change.

Football has returned to Danville. Superintendent Patrick Wallace said he heard from many in the community that they would like to see football back in Danville, so last winter they set out to find how much interest the student body had.

“The biggest determinant we knew was going to be student buy-in. How many kids would actually show up and play?” Wallace said. “So we did some open gyms, kind of saw, alright, who will come out, and we had good numbers all the way back then, you know 35, 40 kids, and then we asked every kid and family to sign a letter of intent, that really wasn’t anything more than, hey, we’ve got to make this decision in December, do you give us kind of your word that you’ll play, and so far most of those kids that did that are here.”

Thirty-nine students currently make up the Bears roaster, but getting the roster together is just one step, Football is an expensive sport, but the Danville community showed their “letter of intent” to support the program through fundraising.

“I wanted us to not have to spend a lot of general fund money out of the school’s account to bring it back, I was hoping that we could raise the money to bring it back,” Wallace said. “We set a goal for $60 thousand, our break-even was $50 thousand, you know there are needs to have like helmets, shoulder pads, you know updated gear, and then there are some nice things to have stuff and so we raised $54-thousand dollars as of [Monday]. So, the community came out and supported it, so it cost the taxpayers zero dollars. the community really rallied, so it’s been impressive.”

In the past few years, Danville students have been making the trip down the road to play for Mount Pleasant, with around 20 playing for the Panthers last year.

“It speaks volumes on what these guys were able to do, those guys that have committed and even those seniors that have played three years in Mount Pleasant, they are coming and learning a new system, they are helping the kids below them the kids that maybe haven’t played football in a couple years, so we have some great leadership and I’m excited to see what happens this fall,” said Head Coach Cody Thompson.

“We got to experience the game at Mount Pleasant, I love football, I love the sport, so I go out and play, but it just wasn’t the same feeling as playing for your hometown, you know, having people you know in the stands, not strangers, and we are all pumped around here,” said senior Hayden Logan.

The Bears’ first home game is scheduled for Sept. 1 against Highland.

“It’s going to be probably one of the greatest feelings we will ever feel, it’s going to be very, going to have lots of chills, going to get a little emotional for me because it’s just going to be, the whole town, I think the whole town plus more, it’s just going to be packed, we’re going to come out and just show them who we are,” said senior Titus Svoboda.

“It’s really exciting because we get to come out here and play and show all our family and friends,” said senior Cooper Kleinkopf.

Copyright 2023 KWQC. All rights reserved.