It should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Ishpeming Hematite football team's incredible season that the group is sticking together as a team.
When the Hematites found out that the story of team member Eric Dompierre's battle to be able to play during his senior year won Sports Illustrated's "Underdogs" online voting, Dompierre's family immediately decided it was important the honor be shared not just by part of the team, but all of it.
You see, the online victory came with a $25,000 grant and the chance for 10 players to travel to New York City for the magazine's Sportsmen of the Year event next week.
The Hematites, Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 7 champs, are raising money so they can travel to NYC together, which would be a total of 31 people, including Coach Jeff Olson and one of his assistants.
A minimum of $3,200 has to be raised almost immediately to make that happen.
The football Hematites have been an amazing group all along, overcoming the sorrow of losing three young men associated with the program over the past two years and beating a much-favored Detroit Loyola team in the state finals Saturday, earning the Ishpeming school a third state football championship.
At the request of Dean Dompierre, Eric's father, Sports Illustrated is chartering a bus for the whole team to make the trip, rather than providing plane tickets for 10 Hematites to fly to New York.
But other expenses must be covered for the entire squad to make the journey and enjoy a few days in the big city.
That's where you can help.
People who would like to contribute can send a check made out to Ishpeming Public Schools with NYC trip in the memo to: Ishpeming Public Schools, 319 E. Division St., Ishpeming MI 49849.
Or donations can be brought directly to the superintendent's office at that address.
For more information, call 485-5501, Ext. 131.
The team's bus leaves Monday. The trip takes about 20 hours. The Hematites will sightsee Tuesday; the Sportsmen of the Year event is Dec. 5; and the team will return home Dec. 6.
We know the community - the entire Upper Peninsula and beyond - will step up to help the Hematites in the last leg of this incredible season's journey because, well, that's what Yoopers do: We support one another.