What started as a gigantic undertaking now nears completion for those involved with the Cedar Cliff football program.
First offered the chance to play their season opener in Ireland nearly nine months ago, the Colts watched as their booster club sprung into action. It would be a long road looking to raise the money needed to send an entire high school team and coaches and support staff overseas, but it was one that Colts in Ireland chair Doug Musselman said the group was eager to tackle.
"Obviously it's a daunting task to come up with over $200,000 to spend to send players and coaches over there," he said. "But when we drew up a preliminary budget, and people started saying, 'We can get this much from corporate donations and this much from fundraising,' it became more doable when you looked at it that way."
That total bill - which the booster club and individuals are solely responsible for footing - was big. It was much bigger than buying subs for the team after a game or getting a charter bus for a long road trip. So the boosters had to think outside the box, something that, apparently, came naturally.
Players and families undertook common fundraising efforts, selling subs and cookie dough, but there were some more unusual ideas as well. Players sold Christmas trees in December, and the booster club raffled off a trip for two to see the Colts - and Penn State - in Ireland. They also raffled a Playstation 4 in December when the new gaming system was in high demand.
They're saving the best for last though, capping their fundraising efforts Sunday with a helicopter golf ball drop at West Shore Stadium during their spring fair.
"We've got a whole mixed bag of fundraising, and people have been successful with those," Musselman said. "And the golf ball drop is the most unusual one. Someone stumbled across it, and we said, 'Hey, if we can, if they'll let us do it at West Shore Stadium, let's do it.'" The ball drop will be the culmination of a busy day at Cedar Cliff High School, going off just before 5 p.m.
Starting at 1, there will be events all day, including a lift-a-thon with the Colt football players, a youth football combine and performances by Irish dancers and the Cedar Cliff band. The event emcee will be Cedar Cliff alumnus and former Penn State and NFL player Kyle Brady.
Golf balls can still be purchased through the boosters' fundraising website, coltsinireland.com.
The Colts will face Penn Manor Aug. 29 in Dublin, the day before the Nittany Lions face Central Florida at Croke Park Stadium.