Central Catholic's state championship football team visited St. Michael's Elementary School on Dec. 16 as part of a victory tour of its Holy Cross Academy feeder schools.
There, team members talked about winning the state title and took photos and signed autographs with the students.
"These visits are hugely popular with our students who, of course, look up to the 'famous athletes' and it's a homecoming for the players and our schools as most of the Central Catholic football players come from one of the Holy Cross Catholic Schools," said Kristie Cramer, director of marketing and enrollment for Holy Cross Academy, in an email.
A day before the entire team visited, St. Michael's had a special visit from two notable alums. Senior quarterback Jack Murphy and senior wide receiver/defensive back Luke Ezzo made an appearance at their former school as "mystery readers" for the second-grade class.
Central Catholic won the the Division V state title with a thrilling 16-13 victory against powerhouse Coldwater, which came into the game having won five straight state titles. The Crusaders trailed 13-9 with less than three minutes remaining when Murphy the team on a 92-yard scoring drive, including the winning 55-yard-touchdown pass to Tee Rupp with less than a minute remaing. The victory against avenged losses to Coldwater in the 2014 and 2015 state title games.
The state championship was the third in school history and was the first for a Stark County school since the Crusaders' 2000 Division III title.