MURPHYSBORO (WSIL) — Across the country, families are gathered around the dinner table, celebrating Thanksgiving.
Around two-thirty in the afternoon on Thursday, members of the Murphysboro community made their way downtown and gathered together on Walnut street. It was a parade-like atmosphere.
It didn’t take long for ringing cowbells to echo through the streets. Moments later, it was followed by police sirens.
An escort for the football team. Not far behind, the charter blared its horn, a way of saying thank you for the town’s support.
It’s a great time to be a Murphsyboro Red Devil. On Friday, the football team will try to capture the programs first state title.
"Everywhere we are going people are congratulating us and it feels great to know the whole town is behind us with this," Murphysboro senior linebacker and fullback Zane Caraway said.
The Red Devils are getting the rock star treatment in Murphysboro, but they realize from outsiders, there’s not as much love, but that’s OK. It helps fuel their fire.
"We are going to be a big underdog, they are a very good team but I want our kids to understand that we are not going up for second place, we are going up to win a championship and it’s a business trip and we will celebrate afterward if it happens to happen," Murphysboro Coach Gary Carter said.
"I feel like we are in the same position they are in so they are in the state finals, we are in the state finals so I feel like that once we get that in our heads that we are in the same position, we’ll be able to play against them," Murphysboro Center Jameirr Frazier said.
Body language speaks volumes, and Coach Carter likes what he sees.
"They play with a chip on their shoulder a little bit and that’s what I like and prefer to be an underdog a little bit, nobody expects anything out of you and you can surprise some people and our kids will keep fighting," Carter said.
"It’s all something we’ve all wanted since we’ve been in the sixth grade. I been playing with these people since sixth grade, some of them since fifth grade do its something we’ve worked for our whole lives so we are all excited about it," Frazier added.
The Red Devils aren’t going to change anything just because it’s a championship game. Plus their good luck charm hasn’t let them down yet.
"I’ve been wearing pajama pants at half practice since the beginning of the year so once we started getting on a roll, every time I came to practice coach was like where’s the pants at, asked if I had the pants on so its pretty cool. A superstitious thing I guess," a smiling Caraway said.