TENNESSEE, USA — This time last week, five area teams were in the hunt for a high school football state championship.
Now, there are only two teams left. Alcoa and Oak Ridge both won last week, and they have earned the right to play for a state championship this Friday.
"Everybody's real excited about the opportunity to win another state championship," said former Wildcat and current Prepradio analyst Mike Sheehan.
For Oak Ridge, it's been 15 years since they last graced the field to compete for a gold ball.
For Alcoa, though, they have been dominant of late. The Tornadoes are headed back to the state championship for the eighth straight season, but that hasn't muffled any hopes for another title defense. A state title chase is always met community with support.
"It means a lot to this community. I have not seen a place like this before in my life," said Evon Sankey, the grandmother of the Tornadoes' star running back.
Fans aren't the only ones who are happy to see their city's team close to a championship. Tony Hall with Monster Works in Oak Ridge knows that this week will bring a rare business opportunity for the local T-shirt design company.
"I mean it's a huge opportunity. There's going to be a lot of opportunity for 2020 shirts and I hope that we have to remake all of our state championship shirts that we already have in our store because I would love to put 2020 on there," said Hall.
Regardless of whether you're talking about Alcoa or Oak Ridge, the impact is the same. A state championship appearance is a great thing not only for the teams involved but for the communities as well.
Alcoa will take on Milan at 11 a.m. (Central) Friday for the Class 3A TSSAA State Title Game. Oak Ridge will play in the late game, taking on Summit at 7 p.m. (Central). Both games will take place at Tucker Stadium on the campus of Tennessee Tech University.