East Knox football

East Knox youth football players prepare to high-five the varsity team as it runs out onto the field on Friday, September 20, 2019.

HOWARD – Earlier this week, we asked readers to submit messages of support for the East Knox football team, as it prepares to face Carey in the Div. VI Region 22 title game on Friday night.

The response was overwhelming.

Nearly 100 readers – from Knox County and beyond – left inspirational messages for the team. People from rival school districts, such as Danville, Centerburg, Fredericktown and Mount Vernon, all expressed their support for the Bulldogs.

"You boys have given this old man a breath of life toward the end of my own," one man said. "I am so proud of our dogs. I just know you will win this fight as well. Hopefully I can make it to the state championship on a wing and a prayer to support you once you advance."

"Go Bulldogs," another reader quipped. "The whole county is behind you."

Your response this week shows the power of high school sports. One school – one team – can bring an entire region together. It can unite us all under a common cause. It can make us proud of where we came from, and where we continue to call home.

There's a lot on the line for East Knox this week. The Bulldogs (12-0) will battle Carey (7-5) on Friday night for a trip to the state semifinals. That would be a first for East Knox; the Bulldogs have qualified for the regional finals twice before, but have never made it to the Final Four.

While the Bulldogs are in for a battle on Friday night, and nothing is guaranteed come Week 13, one thing is certain: the Knox County community will have their backs the entire way.

Be sure to follow Knox Pages on Friday night for complete coverage of the Bulldogs game. And if you'd like to support our reporters – and our efforts to collect these messages for the team – click here to learn more about becoming a Knox Pages Member today. Use code KNOXSPORTS to save 50 percent on your purchase.

Thank you to all who left messages of support for the team. Here's what you had to say:

"Lets Go Bulldogs! Keep doing your best! Supporting EK #classof95" - Brad Mawer

"You guys are rocking !!!! Good Luck and Go Bulldogs !!" - Bev Kerr 

"What an unbelievable season!!! You are making memories you will cherish for the rest of your lives! Keep making more memories on Friday with another huge win. Best of luck!!" - Brody Griffith 

"Best of luck to Cody and his Bulldogs!! So proud of you all!!" - Melissa Bostick  

"A different kind of Devil-Dog Game!....You Got This!!! Go Dogs!!!!" - Williams 

"GOOD LUCK BULLDOGS !!! YOU’VE GOT THIS !!!" - Annette Mills 

"Here we go Bulldogs here we go!!!!" - Matt Davidson 

"We love our Bulldogs! Let’s go all the way!" - Cathy Gallwitz 

"This Yellow Jacket is yelling: GO BULLDOGS!" - Mary Rugola-Dye 

"Keep making history boys don’t stop now. You got the whole town behind your back!!" - Kevin 

"Go Bulldogs! Play hard and never give up! Good luck Dogs!" - Beth Landis 

"What you give is what you get! Leave it all out there! We all believe in you! GO DOGS!" - Allie Henthorn 

"As a former Bulldog who played during the 1999 Playoff run, it has been a blast following along this season. Keep the momentum going and bring it home to Howard. You are making us proud! and... East. Knox. HITS! Go Dawgs!" - Josh Bailey, EKHS Class of 2001

"Play for the name on the front of your jersey and people will remember the name on the back! Couldn’t be more proud of this group of young men and all they have and will continue to accomplish! Play hard, play smart that’s what #d6football is all about!" - The Link Family 

"KICK ASS BULLDOGS LETS GO GET SUM DUBS #EKWAY #EK2STATE" - Jaclynn 

"Stay humble! You've got this!" - Julie Brinning

"Let’s get it done boys! Big stadium jitters are behind you, you’re the home team you’ve got this!" - Amy Smart

"Let’s go bulldogs you got this! All the coaching staff the parents you have all made such a difference this year and I love our community. As someone from the class of 2007 I love seeing the bulldogs come this far keep it up!" - Crystal Harstine

"Good luck Bulldogs! You have had an amazing year and have made the whole community proud! We’re rooting for you!" - Jerry and Elaine Stull 

"Go Bulldogs!!! You have got this!!! Proud of all you have accomplished!! Make knox county prouder!!! GO BULLDOGS!!!" - Pam Cline

"You boys have given this old man a breath of life toward the end of my own. I have not been able to watch the games, but have listened to them and read the papers. I am so proud of our dogs I just know you will win this fight as well. Hopefully I can make it to the state championship on a wing and a prayer to support you once you advance. EK4LIFE!!!" - Jeff Riesen

"Go Bulldogs! Good luck Friday night. You got this!" - Holly Miller

"Go get em DAWGS! Your family, friends and community are cheering you on! We BARK together!" - Laura Kannady

"Goodluck bulldogs! Make all your dreams come true. I’m so proud of #7 and #3 love you both so much." - Abby Bailey

"Teamwork allows successful results! Keep your head in the game. Good luck." - Teresa and Rebel Thompson 

"GO BULLDOGS I SMELL VICTORY CONGRATS ON YOUR AWESOME SEASON" - Martha and Tony Bush

"You can do this - Go BULLDOGS." - Linda Sheldon

"You guy's are Awesome!!! Your hard work and dedication has brought you here!!! We are so proud of each and every one of you!!! Go out there and show them what you do best, Win!!! Best of luck Bulldogs!" - Val Watson

"So proud of all your hard work! Keep working together and have fun!" - Shelly Rojas Annett

"Good Luck boys from southern Ohio will be rooting for you. Good luck Lester boys and teammates." - Deidra Cross

"Way to go Dogs. Good luck and congratulations on how far you have come. Leave it all on the field." - Shannon Frost

"So proud of you all, keep up the good fight! The winning is wonderful but the sportsmanship that you all show is incredible! Being an alumnus you make us all so proud!" - Jennifer Siler (Rine)

"Best wishes East Knox! I'm a Freddie rooting for you to go all the way!!!" - Chris

"Let’s go Bulldogs! -2007 alumni" - Britney Martinez

"Congrats E.K. Bulldogs! Good luck to all, to the coaches and players, enjoy the experience. Your hard work got you here now go out and kick Carey’s butt! GO DOGS!!!" - Laurie Watson

"Way to go on your season Bulldogs. Blessings this friday!!" - Wendy Ferenbaugh

"I am so proud of you." - Mark Schwartz

"So very proud of each one of you! But especially the senior class and their amazing leadership they have shown the younger guys!!! I have loved watching y’all play since you were just little guys! So pumped for you all!! So proud to be a Bulldog!!! LETS GO GET EM DOGS!!! Also, shoutout to the coaching staff!!! Teaching these boys football AND to be respectful young men on and off the field!! We need more coaches like y’all out there!! Thank you!" - Lori Gentile

"As an East Knox alumni student and cheerleader I am beyond proud of how far you guys have come! Go all the way!" - Sarah

"Apple Valley supports the Bulldogs!" - Steve Adams

"Let's go Bulldogs! Keep playing and believing in each other! Keep fighting til the end like you have all season!" - Salyers Family

"Keep doing what you've been doing. Stay aggressive and play your game." - Dave Behney

"Win the turnover battle and play the game your capable of. There will be highs and lows but believe in yourself and play your position. Don't try to do to much. Just play assignment football and bring home the win. You are the better team." - Dave Behney

"Go Bulldogs, keep setting records. Stay strong defense, hold that line. Love you Dyer #55" - Larry

"Bulldogs, thanks for leading our community with purple pride and being heroes to the younger bulldog puppies that will follow in your cleats! #EKToState" - Tanya Krownapple

"Good Luck Bulldogs!!" - GiGi Larsen

"We are all so proud of you all and so excited for your success this season. You are amazing young men, both on and off the field and I am glad to know you all!" - Cindy Grigsby

"I’ve watched so many of you since you were just little boys in classes I subbed in. Can’t believe how grown up and talented you are! We are so proud of you!!" - Mrs. Gebhardt

"I hope each of you know how proud Bulldog Nation is of you. Good Luck this week and leave it all on the field. Class of 2020 THANK YOU for all of the memories you have given us from colt football , Back to Back championship in 7th and 8th grade to this History making senior year. #loveourbulldogs" - Crystal Gallwitz

"Always proud of the Bulldogs, play hard, clean, determined football, you will be winners no matter what happens, best wishes and good luck to a great bunch of kids!" - Larry Faith

"You have made us proud! Good luck in your future endeavors!!" - Dawn and Mark Wright

"I was very excited to see you guys play last Friday for my very 1st football game! I’m in kindergarten and I’ll be rooting for you guys again from the stands with my dad! Go Bulldogs!" - Bentley Eickemeyer

"Go 4 it boys u got this. May god give u extra Speed, Strength, Power. Shout out to my cousin Dyer,Tackle hard & Don't give up." - Amber

"Let’s do this boys!!" - Big Dawg

"Good luck Dogs!!!" - Jill Morningstar

"Relax! Enjoy the moment! Continue playing as the team you are. Best of luck! Luke Grosscup and his teammates!" - Shuler

"Good luck Bulldogs! Keep it rolling!" - Austin, Alisha, & Cason Hazen

"Good luck to you guys and congratulations on making history for your school. Go Bulldogs" - Rich & Angie (Grindhouse BBQ)

"Good luck! Great job to all the boys and coaches!" - Wetzel Family

"You got this boys! Best of luck on Friday." - Sue Weckesser, Danville Tire & Alignment 

"How proud I am of each one of you. Some of you rising above circumstances in your own life to reach forward for a goal. Some of you sacrificing other sports or other things for the same goal. Others just playing their heart out for the goal everyone is reaching for! Each one of you matter! Each one of you make a difference! Whether you are one the field Friday nights or in the field for practices during the week or even a waterboy, this is YOUR TEAM and YOUR GOAL!!! Thank you for presenting yourselves as nice young men! Thank you for being supportive of each other! Thank you for showing PRiDE in who you are and what you are doing!!! I KNOW you will play your hardest and do your best!! Your effort is outstanding! So continue to do what you do, knowing what you know and lets get another WIN!!" - Terasa Slone

"Lets go bulldogs" - Brandon Sharp

"You show at lot of class!! Refuse to Lose ! Lets go Dogs!!" - Jim Williamson

"Great work on the good season. Glad to see the work payoff. Show them that the KMAC is here to play – from a Centerburg Football player." - Ellis Grizenko

"You guys got this! I am so proud of you guys and the determination you show!" - Kitara

"Go Bulldogs! Great Job. All the way!" - S. Martin

"You guys rock" - Rachel Black

"How bout them Dawgs?! Way to represent Knox County! Jackson says: "EK all the way." Let's get to the final 4! (s/o to #57, #50, #72)" - Danville High School Choir

"Way to go Bulldogs!! We are so excited for you and pulling for a win! Keep up the amazing work!" - Karen Doenges

"You are such an awesome group of young men!! Good luck against Carey!! Go Bulldogs" - Susan Rogers

"You got this Bulldogs. You've done excellent!" - Rod and Susie Chrisman

"You guys got this!!!!!! Refuse to loose Go BullDogs!!!!!!!!" - Erica Webber 

"You boys have worked hard and gotten far. You have made the bulldog nation proud and you have more people cheering for you than you know! Best of luck and enjoy this moment!" - Sara Gallwitz Mendenhall

"Knox County Fans Unite! Go get'em Bulldogs" - Jaki

"Movie 300 quote; "give them nothing but take from them everything" Spartans were not known for their individual fighters but as a united group forming one impenetrable shield." - B. Wilson (81)

"Good luck Bulldogs!" - Melissa Oxenford

"Go Bulldogs. The whole county is behind you." - Dave Bevington

"You are a fantastic group of fine young men with the opportunity to provide your school and teammates a great honor. Enjoy every minute . You have all worked very hard to get to this level. Good luck to all of you." - Wendy Reed

"Go Bulldogs! Great job!!" - Meredith and Jerry Johnson

"I am BEYOND proud of all of you. i am thankful to be able to watch you guys accomplish so much! good luck!" - Kass! 

"Let's get em guys ! #ektostate #ekway" - Casey Davis

"Boys, you need to realize how hard these seniors have worked this year for this opportunity. Actually they’ve been busting tail for four damn years! You got a lot of guys gonna be watching this game from the stands thatta wished they was out there with those helmets’s strapped up." - Doug Jones II

"Good Luck-You can do it! Go Bulldogs!!" - Neil & Luann McKown (Wess’ parents)

"What you’re doing is making your families and the whole county proud. Don’t let it go to your head. Stay close to Coach - a state title is gonna take gap responsibility and gang tackling. That MOAC title didn’t come free, don’t expect less in Canton. It starts before the game. No horsing around at practice, don’t be kissing your girlfriend and showing up late. Bulldog Strong boys." - Daryll Rardon

"Good Luck! Show them how amazing we all know you are! We believe! #D6" - Darcy

"Guys you need to think the win vs Seneca was a damn fluke. You done put yourself in the ring with the big fellers this week. Do not let these seniors down. They’ve spent 4 years bustin tail in the weight room. Your family is watchin’! Clear eyes, full heart, and stomp on their damn throat! This is a dog fight and if I know an East Knox fella he ain’t gonna walk his dog away from a dog fight. Now buckle your chinstraps and tackle with your face down." - BulldogRB89

"You’ve got to win the week to advance" - Ric Merton

"This team this week is no joke. I seen em last week." - Ed Chotow

"If your drawers ain’t a little squishy this week I’d be surprised. How bad do you want it" - Ric Mercer

"Go Dogs!! We got your back no matter what!" - Jeremy Clendenen

"I'm so very proud of all of you!! Keep the faith and stay the course! You are great young men and the sportsmanship you show on the field says it all! GO BULLDOGS 1972 alumni" - Sharon Heaton Ratai

"Let’s go Dogs!!! So proud of this team and the coaching staff! Proud to be a Bulldog!" - Cortney Krownapple

"Such an awesome team full of so many great players. Watching you guys play has been so exciting and an absolute joy. Cant wait to see you guys play Friday. GO BULLDOGS." - Doug

"Good Luck!! Congratulations on your awesome season!!" - Tina Dennis

"Proud of these great guys!" - Joan

"GO BULLDOGS! Take a deep breath, take it all in and then take it to them!!" - Jim Ferrell

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Staff Reporter

Grant is a 2018 graduate of Ohio Northern University, where he studied journalism and played basketball. He likes coffee, books and minor league baseball. He loves telling stories and has a passion for local news.