Columbus East football players are showing their solidarity to the school and each other as they head into Friday’s 5A state championship game against Kokomo.

About 50 to 60 players spent part of their day Sunday at Twisted Scizzors Hair and Day Spa after the business offered to give the players a new look, senior Cole McCarter said.

Ethan Summa, another senior who received frosted blonde hair tips, said the show of support among the team is something it has done each time it reached the state championship. Players got mohawks last year.

“Just being around them, having fun with them was amazing,” Summa said of the player-bonding experience.

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Cassie Imlay, co-owner of the business located at 3115 20th St., said the idea came about after the team won Friday’s semistate game against Cathedral, 42-13, sending the Olympians into the state championship game.

The hair-coloring suggestion came from East cheerleader Ashley Gilpin, the daughter of Imlay’s boyfriend.

Ashley and her brother, East senior football player Carson Gilpin, then approached East football coach Bob Gaddis with the idea, Imlay said.

Imlay, joined by shop co-owner Josie Fouts, said while some of the players got haircuts, others received frosted tips or bleached their hair.

The players also brought Flat Gaddis, a color photo of the coach depicted on cardboard during football playoffs, to the salon.

Imlay said she enjoyed the experience, noting that the salon tries to give back to others whenever possible. She estimated that the business donated $150 worth of chemicals treating players’ hair, as well as their time. The players were not charged for the salon’s services.

“It was good to get to know everybody,” Imlay said.

The players’ experience was documented through the lens of Tim Sorrells, who has photographed the Olympian football team over the past six seasons.

“They were all pumped up, very excited,” Sorrells said.

Sorrells described the atmosphere as fun, with many players in different poses as their photos were being taken. The players weren’t the only ones who got frosted hair tips, however.

“They talked me into getting mine done, too,” Sorrells said.

Sorrells, who gave in after receiving some encouragement, said he enjoys being able to capture memories for the players.

“It’s a blast to be a part of it,” he said.

McCarter added that he appreciated the salon’s generosity.

“We’re going to be ready to go in and win,” McCarter said of Friday’s championship game in Indianapolis against Kokomo.

That sentiment was shared by McCarter’s mother, Lisa McCarter, who serves as president of the Columbus East Quarterback Club.

She said the team’s win against Cathedral was particularly memorable.

“That game was just magical,” she said. “The crowd was so into it.”

McCarter, whose older son K.J. played football and graduated in 2016, said she has enjoyed being involved with the team’s success over the past six years. However, there’s one last thing she would like to see.

“Winning the state championship this weekend would certainly top it all off,” Lisa McCarter said.

Tickets for the championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium became available for sale late Monday afternoon at the Columbus East athletics office. Ticket sales will continue today, Wednesday and Friday, assistant athletics director Tyler Davis said.

Columbus East has 4,000 general admission tickets that will be available to local fans, who will receive a stadium map that will show what side Columbus East fans will be sitting on, Davis said.

Hoosier Sporting Goods in Columbus is taking orders through noon today for “Columbus East State Bound” shirts and sweatshirts, said Mike Bodart, owner of the business. Orders were made available online after Friday night’s East over Cathedral, he said.

“We got orders rolling in ever since,” Bodart said.

The custom shirts and sweatshirts will be printed on Wednesday, with fans able to pick up their orders from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday at the store, 611 Washington St., Bodart said.

Team sendoff, caravan, tailgate party

The Columbus East Quarterback Club is inviting fans to join them Friday near the East fieldhouse for a team sendoff and caravan behind the team buses as they have a police escort out of Columbus. Fans are invited to decorate their cars, bring noise makers, pompoms and signs, and cheer for the Olympians as they head to the buses. Arrive by 3:15 p.m.

The official Olympian State Championship Tailgate Party will be held at the heated Gate Ten Event Center, 343 W. McCarty St., Indianapolis, across from Lucas Oil Stadium. Food and drink will be available in the food court. Cost to park is $15. Order parking passes in advance at goindyevents.com

Title game matchup

Columbus East will play Kokomo at 7:05 p.m. Friday in the Class 5A final at Lucas Oil Stadium, 500 S. Capitol Ave., Indianapolis.

When, where to get tickets

General admission tickets for Columbus East’s Football State Finals game against Kokomo are on sale this week in the athletics department office of East High School, 230 S. Marr Road. East will keep a portion of the proceeds from each pre-sale ticket sold.

Today: 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wednesday: 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.

Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cost: $15, good for all three championship games Friday.

  • Class 1A: Pioneer (14-0) vs. Eastern Greene (11-3), noon
  • Class 3A: Brebeuf Jesuit (10-4) vs. Evansville Memorial (13-1), 3:30 p.m.
  • Class 5A: Kokomo (9-4) vs. Columbus East (13-1), 7 p.m.

Ordering Columbus East gear

The Columbus East Quarterback Club is working with Hoosier Sporting Goods on official team gear with an online order deadline of noon today.

Fans can order “Columbus East State Bound” T-shirts (short- and long-sleeve) and sweatshirts in men’s, women’s and youth styles and sizes, with T-shirts starting at $15 and sweatshirts costing between $24 and $43.75 depending on style and size.

To order online, visit https://hsg.tuosystems.com/stores/ceqbclub17

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or mkent@therepublic.com