Rival Lancaster County student sections come together for alumni’s cancer fight

EAST HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. --- When the Friday night lights come on, the Hempfield Black Knights and the Lampeter-Strasburg Pioneers are rivals on the gridiron.

On the sidelines this time, the student sections were united by the color orange.

Former Pioneer basketball standout, Ryan Smith, is currently battling Leukemia, said Jack Ingram, a senior at Lampeter-Strasburg, who said he's like a family member to Smith.

He said student section leaders for the Pioneers wanted to show support for Smith at the Hempfield vs. Lampeter-Strasburg football game.

They came across the color that represents Leukemia awareness, which is orange.

They set out to put together an "orange-out" for the game, getting attendees to wear orange clothes.

“Jacob Kopelman, one of the people that helps me out, he texted someone from Hempfield to asked them to do it and it kind of just grew into this big thing," said Ingram.

Colin McPherson, a senior at Hempfield High School, said he was contacted by a couple football players regarding the orange-out idea.

“It’s a pretty obvious choice. We’d all like to support our fellow schools in the [Lancaster-Lebanon] School District so it was a pretty easy choice to put the orange together for Ryan," said McPherson.

The idea grew across social media and gained the endorsement of teams across the Lancaster-Lebanon League.

Smith, himself, tweeted his allegiance to the Pioneers on Tuesday while showing his appreciation for the gesture.

“We want him to know that no one fights alone because...everyone here is standing up for him and everyone’s hoping, praying for him and all that. No one ever fights alone," said Ingram.

Both student sections and bands were filled with orange Friday night, setting aside a rivalry for something more.

“The L-L League is kind of a big family. As much as they like to hype up the rivalries and the school hatred...We all know each other, we all like each other and we’re going to be able to put our rivalries aside and step up for a better and bigger cause,” said McPherson.

Ingram and members of the Lampeter-Strasburg student section also collected donations to try and help Smith and his family.

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