PEORIA, Illinois (WMBD) – The Peoria High Lions, the Pride of Peoria, came up just short in their state championship game Saturday against Nazareth Academy.

The community still came together though on Sunday to show their support for the team. The players received standing ovations from their parents and fans.

Guest speakers included superintendent Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat and principal Annette Coleman. Both told the players of how they inspired the town and lessons of how their effort and hard work would apply later in life.

The seniors, while disappointed in the result, will never forget playing for the Lions.

Just felt like we had a good run and I felt like we could have did it but we came up just a bit short… The time and dedication they put into you to make you a man or a player, it’s just tremendous.

Ricky Hearn, Peoria Senior Receiver

It’s amazing. Really something I always dreamt of. And I can’t wait to see the seniors do it again next year, how connected we were, How we all knew each other before high school, how we all played together. We always were together and in connection with each other even before football.

Kaleb Lawson