The Penn Kingsmen are preparing for the big game.
The Penn Kingsmen are preparing for the big game.

Friday nights are thought to be the best days of the week. It’s the beginning of the weekend, finally some free time, and let’s not forget all of the extra sleep. But this Friday night was unlike all of the others in the year. On August 22nd at the Penn High School stadium, Penn football was going head-to-head against Valparaiso High School for Penn’s first Friday football game of the year. Although the skies were painted with dark, grey clouds, and the air was suffocating with its sticky humidity, these were no obstacles for the Penn football fans who attended.

The beginning of the night was charging up for the enthusiasm of the game. Students were packed together like clay in the student section, shoulder to shoulder, while the rest of the people in the cold, hard bleachers were getting a little crowded, but fully anticipating what awaited on the field. It was clear the fans were determined, but their kind faces and smiles gave such a friendly vibe to the atmosphere. The marching band, on the practice field in the distance, spoke in vibrant tones as the national anthem boldly escaped from their instruments in rich color. Everyone was fully prepared. Surely, no one wanted to miss a minute of this highly anticipated game.

While checking out the scene from the crowd’s perspective in the bleachers, I had the pleasure of speaking with a few of the parents of some of the students participating in the night’s game. The first person I talked to was Cheryl Neff. Cheryl told me that her daughter Paige was a freshman in the guard of the Kingsmen marching band. This was her first Penn game, and she was informing me with enthusiasm about this year’s show, “Anima Ex Machina” or known as, “The Soul of the Machine.”

“I’m really excited to see it again!” She said enthusiastically. “I saw it at the parent preview, and it’s a great show!”

Another proud Penn parent I spoke to was Frank Fitzhugh. Frank’s son William is a sophomore on the JV football team at Penn. He gave so many compliments to the team, some of which were, “They’re cool! They play very well” and that “they’re a big deal!” He had said that his son had been playing a few years now, and that his son was a very hard worker. It just goes to show that there are definitely great students on the team!

Cheerleaders lead the crowd on with praises for the team.
Cheerleaders lead the crowd on with praises for the team.The night grew from the mild beginning to the rowdy cheers and praises from the crowd.

The night grew stronger waves of positive energy as the game progressed. During this time, when the game started lighting up in what seemed a thousand different ways, I caught up with some of the students to get their take on the whole football game atmosphere.

“Friday night football is fun and exhilarating!” Drew Stickler told me, a junior at Penn high school. It was obvious from his excitement and pride for his team that he had a great character and personality. I had also talked to another girl named Natalie Freehan, a junior at Penn high school.

“Though Penn is a big school, sports like football bring us together to root for the same thing.” She had told me. With her was her dear friend Annie Zielinski, who also told me that “Penn high school is a great community and football games are really great gatherings.” It’s really awesome to hear all of this wonderful feedback from our very own students, who have pride for their team, and kindness for everyone around them.

For this being my first year at Penn high school, I can already tell that this school has a lot to offer. I don’t just mean activity wise, but character and compassion is undoubtedly a great part of what everyone participates in. Penn, taking a victory of 35 to 3, of course caused the crowd to be thrilled for the season. Penn students and fans will not only be taking home a first game win, but a memory of the great people, great atmosphere, and a fun night that can be cherished for quite some time.

By Kevin McNulty

Kevin McNulty teaches English and Mass Media Studies at Penn High School. He advises the Penn News Network and manages the PNN Studio and news room. For more information, navigate your browser to