Community Celebrates Team's First Title Game - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/5/04-Tyler

Community Celebrates Team's First Title Game

After 14 weeks of sweating it out on Friday nights... it's all come down to the last few games for six East Texas High School football teams.

Tyler's Robert E. Lee is one of those schools vying to be the top team in the state. They'll play for their first ever state title Saturday at San Antonio's Alamodome. An entire community is getting behind their team.

As the seconds ticked off the scoreboard at Texas Stadium in Irving Saturday night, the numbers spelled out something familiar... a Red Raider victory.

"We played good, played real well a lot of intensity against a good football team," said Head Coach Mike Owens.

A day after his team's 11th victory, and the one that will send them to their first ever State Championship game, it was back to business for Owens and his staff. These coaches would like to treat this game like any other, but a quick glance around the field house and you'll see, this is the game a school and a community has been anticipating for more than 40 years.

"I think any community that's got teams in the State Championship are proud of it," Owens said.

The coach said the fans have been a big part of his teams success this year. Supporters like Alicia Berry have been there every step of the way.

"We believe in our boys and we believe in our football program and we watch weekly how hard they work and we knew they had the ability to make it and we're just standing by them making sure we're there when they get there," she said.

Berry is part of a group called the Lee Football Mom's Club. The moms are the unofficial leaders of the Red Raider fan club. They say the community has definitely gotten into the action.

"They're really getting involved they want to buy t-shirts, they want spirit items, they want car flags, they want helmets on their windshields just whatever they can do to support this team," said Berry.

A team and a community just one win away from their fulfilling their dreams.

"This has probably been the most enjoyable year I've every had.... It's just been a great year for them," said Owens.

While this is Lee's first time to play in a title game it's not the first time for a Tyler school. John Tyler High School has been to the title game three times, winning two State Championships.

The Red Raiders are set to take on Spring Westfield, noon Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Chris Gibson, reporting
cgibson@kltv.com

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