It wasn't just another Monday at Robert E. Lee High School.
The change could be seen from the parking lot to the classrooms: cars covered with shoe-polish slogans like "Go Big Red" and building windows covered with a big banner. And the stars this week are the proud players, hoping to make a name for their school this Saturday.
"It's been awesome because ever since I was a freshman, you always dream about in football to go and win a state championship," Josh Hill, the quarterback, said. "And now that it is my senior year, we're going to get the chance to do that. It's just a huge opportunity."
Whether it's the quarterback you ask or the running back or anyone else, this year's team has something special.
"This team here has a little more heart than the teams in the past," Tyrone Ross, the running back, said. "We're a little more want to. A little more 'we' than 'I'."
For the students rallying the crowd spirit, cheering and performing for a winning team senior year is just about as good as it gets.
"Football's one thing, and then state's another thing," Larkin Procter, a varsity cheerleader, said.
"When we're at home sometimes, I feel like we're cheering to nobody 'cause no one will stand up," Kaylyn Kerr, another varsity cheerleader, said. "But fans and everybody have just really come out and really changed everything. And it really has an effect on the football team and us."
"It's pretty much what anybody can talk about right now," Brittney Tomlinson, a Southern Belle drill team member, said.
The Raider spirit is beginning to spread throughout Tyler. For example, when you're leaving town on Highway 69, at I-20, you'll see a sign using Dairy Queen's commercial slogan: "Tyler Lee. That's what I like about Texas." The other side of the sign lets people coming in to town know which team is red hot in East Texas: "How about those state-bound Red Raiders."
Leading the charge is DQ franchisee Terry Giles. His son, John, is on the Lee football team.
"I don't guess there's any words to describe it," the older Giles said. "We're living a dream right now."
Giles is also showing his Red Raider spirit at his restaurant on the Southeast Loop, and he's working on doing the same at his other nine. It's a trend other local businesses are expected to follow as the week rolls on.
The championship game between Tyler Lee and Spring Westfield from the Houston area is Saturday at noon. The teams will battle it out at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Julie Tam, reporting.