For 43 years in Henry County, it's always been "almost" when it comes to high school football. But tonight, a team with a long history of being good has the chance to become great.
And they have the whole town on their side.
The signs in Paris were everywhere Friday - closing early, court in recess, early dismissal for every school in Henry County. And the streets were as quiet as Christmas Day.
"It's a big holiday here in Henry County. Our Patriots are going to state," resident Vicki Hunt said.
Football is big in Paris. You can tell by the facilities that are top notch, from the scoreboard to the press box, this is a county that boosts its football program.
Henry County has always played good football, even great football. But after 43 years, they are finally in the big game.
"We get close every year, but 'horseshoes and hand grenades,' they say. This year we got the thing going," Assistant Principal Gerald Howard said.
More than 1,800 school kids and dozens of adults helped send the team off to a shot at glory.
"It's something they will never forget. They've been together all morning in the classroom saying, 'Roll red roll,'" Howard said.
If Henry County wins the state title, the trophy will come right back to this school's 50-yard-line, so everyone in the county can come see it, touch it and enjoy it. The success of the team involves a lot of people.
Henry County is taking on the Powell Panthers at 7 p.m. in Cookeville.
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