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Village of Kimberly takes football to new level: Community pride fuels the Papermakers

Kimberly football
Posted at 5:10 PM, Aug 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-22 19:08:48-04

KIMBERLY (NBC 26) — When it comes to high school football, the Village of Kimberly isn't just another audience in the stands. The passion and support from the community have elevated the experience to a new level. According to Coach Michalkiewicz, it's as if the community as a whole comes alive on game nights.

"It's just a circular re-energization. It's easy to play at Papermaker Stadium because of the energy, because of the community support," said Coach Michalkiewicz.

The Kimberly Papermakers have long been a winning program in the realm of high school football, and this success is mirrored in the support from their community.

Kell Bales, owner of il Bar Coffeehouse in Kimberly, understands this community-driven enthusiasm personally. After the team won state last year, the coffeehouse created a Papermaker football-themed drink.

The deep-rooted pride in Kimberly's school is a driving factor that even influenced Bales' decision to move his family here.

"We moved specifically to Kimberly based on the excellent school district and school system," said Bales.

Lisa Pendleton, representing the Kimberly Football Moms, echoes this.

"Whether they're competing on a Friday night or they're competing at state," said Pendleton, "the community just loves to watch Kimberly football."

For the players of the Papermakers, playing at their stadium represents the achievement of childhood dreams.

"That's kind of what I dreamed of as a little kid was being out there, and that's where I am now," said senior safety Cody Obermann.

Senior left guard, Grayson Michler, agreed, "Stuff we dreamed about as kids again, like being under the lights, playing our favorite game, living our dream."

The Papermakers are gearing up for their upcoming game against the Bay Port Pirates this Thursday, and they’re happy to be playing at home.

"We'll get to do our Maker Walk, we'll get to do our pregame routine, and then get to play under that crowd," said Michalkiewicz.

The game is at Papermaker Stadium on Thursday at 7 p.m., and it’s our featured showdown game.