MARS (KDKA) — “I am happy to announce we will bring natural gas to McKinley.”

That pronouncement, in the newly-released film, “Promised Land,” actually takes place in the old gymnasium in the former Apollo High School. Much of the film was shot in western Pennsylvania.

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As a matter of fact, members of the Mars Area High School basketball team are featured in a couple of cameos.

“During our first scene, we’re in a town meeting,” senior center John Goetz recalls. “And we come in later in the scene, and we have basketball practice and that’s where it takes place.”

The players were thrilled with their brush with Hollywood.

As for the film’s opposition to natural gas drilling, junior guard Owen Nearhoof says he sees the issue both ways.

“I like protecting the environment and stuff like that, too; but we need to do to give us our resources. So, it’s hard to say,” said Nearhoof.

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Senior guard Garrett Ashbaugh had a speaking part, confronting Matt Damon.

“I was told to stand up and yell two words to him that I can’t really say,” Ashbaugh said.

Both words wound up on the editing room floor.

But on the bright side, Ashbaugh says, “I got paid for the speaking part – $1,000 for the day. We all got about $120 per day. So, because I got paid that, I told them I’d take them all out to lunch.”

“I’m going to hold him to it,” teammate Nearhoof laughs.

Now, the teammates are looking forward with a promised lunch, courtesy of “Promised Land.”

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