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Football games prepare for Tropical Depression Nicole

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – It might not have looked like an ideal night for state playoff football, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by listening.

Patriot nation showed up in full force, braving the preliminary elements of Tropical Storm Nicole to watch Independence take on Olympic in the second round Thursday night…

Some dedicated fans arrived an hour before kickoff, ready for whatever weather lay ahead.

“We didn’t do much planning, these chairs stay in our car 24/7, we’re always ready for a ballgame,” Anna Moraglia, Son plays for Independence said.

Related: Football games rescheduled ahead of Hurricane Nicole

For those on the sidelines like the cheerleaders, shelter was a little more scarce, but they were ready for anything from Mother Nature.

“Keep your jacket on, and try not to let the rain get in your eyes like it is right now. But keep a smile on your face,” Amanye Jinwright, Independence Cheerleader says.

“Keep moving, keep dancing, and pull those ponchos out,” Peyton Morgan, Independence Cheerleader.

And the Patriots gave the cheerleaders and the fans plenty to celebrate against the Trojans.

A dominant win over their conference rival has the Big I back to the third round of the playoffs for the first time since 2009, a very special moment for coach DJ McFadden, who played quarterback for those Patriot teams that won state championships in 2005 and 2006.

“It means a lot, it means a lot for the program, but more importantly it means a lot to our seniors. They’ve been through a lot these last four years,” D.J. McFadden, Independence Head Coach said. “So for them to have the opportunity to go to the third round, means more to me than us not being there since 2009.”

No matter the weather, there was no raining on the Patriots parade tonight.

“It’s huge, that’s what you work for all season long. That’s all the work they put in the regular season to get this home-field advantage. Our fans showed up, they was loud and they stayed the whole time. Good atmosphere, hopefully, if things work out we might get one more here,” D.J. McFadden, Independence Head Coach said.

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