MHS Huddle painting windows for first Mattoon home football game of the season

MATTOON — The MHS Huddle has been painting business windows throughout town in preparation for the Mattoon High School varsity football team’s first home game of the season Friday evening.

More than two dozen volunteers with this nonprofit booster club gathered Sunday evening at Heritage Park to pick up their paint supplies and then spread out to decorate the front windows of several offices and shops downtown.

Club member Deneille Trier said MHS Huddle began its annual Paint the Town program several years ago as a way for the community to show support for Green Wave football. She said the decorations in green, gold and other colors stay up for the duration of each season.







The War Zone painting

Mattoon High School freshman cheerleaders Laney Fitt, at left, Ella Hilgenberg, and Tatum Alexander are shown Sunday evening painting the front window of The War Zone, 1622 Broadway Ave., in preparation for the varsity football team’s first home game of the season Friday evening.




“I think it’s really encouraging. I think it’s very good for the boys and their morale,” Trier said. Her son, senior Slater Trier, is a quarterback on the team.

Window decorations also help remind the general public that the football season is underway, Trier said.

The varsity team is scheduled to play its first home game of the season at 7 p.m. Friday against Richland County High School at Gaines Field. The junior varsity team, which has already played a home game, will take on Richland during an away game at 6 p.m. Monday.

Trier said Paint the Town has received a lot of energetic support over the years from downtown merchants, with La Luna Mexican Restaurant being a new addition this year. 

Businesses from other sections of town take part, as well. Trier said businesses such as the Breakroom Bar & Grill, El Vaquero and Washington Savings Bank from throughout Mattoon had brought the total number of participating locations to 27 by Sunday evening.

“We are always looking for more windows,” Trier said. Interested businesses can reach out to MHS Huddle members or contact the group through its page on Facebook.

Trier said Mattoon High School cheerleaders turn out every year to help with Paint the Town day, adding that she was glad to see 15-20 junior varsity and varsity cheer team members helping Sunday evening.







First Mid painting

MHS Huddle volunteers Bryan and Brandy Gass are shown Sunday evening painting the front window of a First Mid Illinois Bank & Trust building along Charleston Avenue in preparation for the Mattoon High School varsity football team’s first home game of the season Friday evening. They are the parents of sophomore team member Clayton Gass.




The volunteers also included MHS Huddle members Bryan and Brandy Gass. Their son, sophomore Clayton Gass, is part of the Green Wave football program.

Brandy Gass said she loves putting her cake decorating experience to work designing window decorations and being part of a group that raises money for the football program. She said this fundraising helps with the team’s needs, such as additional safety equipment.

“As a parent, that is important for me,” Gass said Sunday while helping paint the front windows of a First Mid Bank & Trust facility along Charleston Avenue.







Painting at Sapphire Salon

MHS Huddle volunteers Rayden Bailey-Burch, Jayven Pauley, Casianne Bailey, and Lexie Bailey-Burch are shown Sunday evening painting the front window of the Sapphire Salon & Spa in preparation for the Mattoon High School varsity football team’s first home game of the season Friday evening. Jayven and Rayden are both part of the football program.




New volunteer Kaeshia Board said she was recruited for her first “Paint the Town” by Trier and was glad to help, as she assisted with the windows at Sapphire Salon & Spa on Sunday.

Board said she has been impressed to learn that the MHS Huddle works with donors and sponsors to help with meal, transportation, and other needs for the Green Wave.

“It’s fantastic. They do a lot of stuff I wasn’t even aware of for the football team,” Board said.

Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud