Lee Football Alumni Relive Memories, Hope For First Title - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/7/04-Tyler

Lee Football Alumni Relive Memories, Hope For First Title

It's just a few days away -- a date with destiny for Tyler's Robert E. Lee football team. The players and coaches are looking forward to Saturday's state championship game. It's the first appearance for Lee in the school's more than 40 year history. Also looking forward, those players and students from Red Raider past.

"There's a thin line between who wins state and who comes in runner-up, and this team has proved they're special," says Todd Parker, a member of the 1987 Bi-District championship team.

The future is now. It's something that these players, their coaches, and those Red Raiders of the past have all been waiting for.

"I think it's one of the greatest things that's happened to Lee," says Andy Bergfeld.

"Back in '87, Lee had never been in the playoffs. Twenty-eight years we hadn't made the playoffs. When we made the playoffs, it almost felt like a state championship atmosphere in Tyler."

Now, the fever grips them all.

"They've done a world for this school in a different fashion than we did in 1987 and 1988," Parker says.

That team fell short. Now, it's time for this team's big dance.

John Craddick, an assistant principal and former Lee basketball player, and says it's exciting for everyone. And it couldn't happen to a better group of young men.

"Not only do they have a good heart, but they are good kids. They're just good kids."

These Red Raiders of old say this team will stay part of the school and each other -- long after this season has come and gone.

"There's a no lose attitude. They don't think about losing and I think that's gotten them where they are," Bergfeld says.

"They will be forever remembered by Tyler, Texas and the football program here and always respected," says Parker.

This year's Red Raider team had their team photo taken this morning at the school. Players told us the attention has been great, but they're trying to stay focused on beating Spring Westlake on the field in San Antonio Saturday.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.

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