Troup Fans Cheering Team To State - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/17/04-Troup

Troup Fans Cheering Team To State

It's been 31 years since the town of Troup has seen it's football team play for a State Championship. Saturday, that streak comes to an end.

The Troup Tigers are set to take on the Crawford Pirates in the 2A Division II State Title game at the Birdville Athletic Complex in North Richland Hills. Friday, the Tiger faithful came out for a city wide pep rally.

It was a full house inside the Troup High School gym as the Tiger faithful prepared for their teams first state title game in more than three decades.

"Very excited, first time, we've been saying this since the 7th grade that we were going to be State Champions one day," said running back Rashaad Gilliam.

"I'm so excited, I'm so excited," said fan Lillian Campbell.

Even Santa couldn't help but get in the mood. A state title is on nearly everyone's wish list this year. Mayor John Whitsell is so confident, he's willing to bet the town on a victory.

"I called the (Crawford) mayor Tuesday night and we wagered city limit signs, so the winning mayor of the winning team gets to bring home the other team's city limit sign," said Whitsell.

Members of the last State Championship team showed up at the pep rally to show their support. They say it's great to be back on top.

"It brought back a new mind set for the city and it's wonderful to see," said '73 State Championship member Willlie Lacy. "Just like the city is growing that team spirit and that winning attitude."

That winning attitude has helped carry these Tigers to the title game. One win away from fulfilling everyone's Christmas wish.

"It's been 31 years since the State Championship and now they have the opportunity... it's a chance of a lifetime," said fan Freddie Hale.

The Troup Tigers are 14-1 this season heading into the title game. That game is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at the Birdville Athletic Complex in North Richland Hills.

Chris Gibson, reporting
cgibson@kltv.com

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