Troup state champions will reunite for first time in 40 years - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Troup state champions will reunite for first time in 40 years

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TROUP, TX (KLTV) -

The grass is gone. The stadium remains. Stepping out on the Tiger Stadium field, is like a walk back in time.

"One thing about a champion," said former Troup team captain Willie Lacy.  "You're always a champion. When you step on that field the champion rises and comes out."

Back in 1973, Lacey helped lead Troup to its only state football championship in school history.  The Tigers defeated Vega 28 to 7 in the 1A state championship game, finishing the season 16 and 0.

"When you walk out on the field right now you just feel chemistry that makes you feel like you want to play again," said former all state linebacker Curtis Tillman.

Some members have of the 1973 championship team have remained in Troup. Others have moved away. Friday night the team will be reunited for the first time in four decades.

"I didn't think that much about it when Eugene said we're going to do this," said former Troup defensive back and tight end Jim McCasland.  "I was like 'okay.' You don't think about it. The moment I walked up and saw them and we embraced it just all come back."

"Some of these guys I haven't seen in 40 years," said former Tiger football player Preston Lindsey.  "When I saw them the first time it puts chills in you and remember back to those days."

Their look has changed, The memories remain the same.

"Just like yesterday," said Lacy. "When were in the moment at the time we didn't realize how special it was."

"I think it means more now then when we were 18," said McCasland.  "Then we didn't realize what we had done probably. We just loved to play."

A state championship trophy is a constant reminder,of one incredible season... 40 years ago.

"We were underdogs in a lot of ways," said Lindsey.  "No one thought we were going to be able to do that. No matter how many people believe in you or don't believe in you. This team believed in our self and believed in each other and never quit and never gave up on anybody."

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