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December 2, 2011: The Patriots Take it All the Way .

Patriots Win First-Ever State Championship; Counce Is Named Coach Of Year

The view from the stands as the Patriots win. (David Webb photo)

Cookeville, Tenn.-Today, the Henry County High School Patriots are state champions. The Patriots capped off its perfect season Friday night with the most important win in school history: the TSSAA Class 5A state championship, by a score of 17-14.

This has been a dream season for the Patriots; the first time in school history that its football team has gone the distance all the way to the state finals. The Patriots faced a tough team in the Powell Panthers, but it is the Patriots that are bringing home the trophy to Henry Co.

It was a hard-fought contest, as both teams traded touchdowns through most of the game. Both teams had perfect seasons coming into the match and the talent and ability by players on both teams was obvious.

Head Coach James Counce was named Class 5A coach of the year and said after the game, “It’s just tremendous. I can’t describe how these kids and coaches have worked together and joined together for this. It’s been a long time coming, but we got it done.”

Henry County resembled a ghost town Friday afternoon and evening as 4,000 of its citizens travelled the three-hour journey to Tucker Stadium in Cookeville for the Patriots’ first trip to a state championship.

“Go Big Red” and “Roll Red Roll” were common signs on vehicles as Patriots’ fans made their mass exodus from the county. Four chartered buses were filled for the trip. The schools, the courthouse and several businesses closed early. For those who had stayed at home or had to work Friday night, they could still keep tabs on the game via our radio station and the WMUF website, the TSSAA website or on television. Local restaurants were either playing the game on their radios or had their televisions turned on for the game. Even deputies at the Henry County Sheriff’s department and patrolmen and dispatchers at the Paris Police department were watching the game between calls.







Kyler Ainley delivers the winning field goal--a 32-yard kick--with 1:57 left to go that won the game for the Patriots. (Tim Pharr photo).

        The Scoreboard Says It All

David French of Paris snapped this photo of the scoreboard at the end of the game.

           And Here's The Hardware

The trophy on Coach Counce's desk. (Debbie Canady photo).


Patriots cheerleaders after the victory. (Pharr photo).

Coach Counce waits to run on the field after the victory. (Pharr photo).

Holding up the hardware. (Pharr photo).

The team and cheerleaders and coaches after the victory. (Pharr photo).


Patriots Victorious; Impromptu Celebration Greets Team

Paris, Tenn.-You couldn't blame Henry Countians for pinching themselves today, wondering if it was all real. In the end, it all came down to a 32-yard kick by Kyler Ainley with 1:57 left in the game that made all the difference in the Patriots' 17-14 victory over Powell Friday night.

The Patriots' brought home a lot of hardware: the state Class 5A trophy; the trophy awarded to Head Coach James Counce for Coach of the Year; and the trophy awarded to Randall Dunlap, who was named Defensive MVP.

The Patriots were greeted at the Benton/Henry County line by Sheriff Monte Belew and his deputies, the Paris Fire Department, county fire departments, and the rescue squad, which escorted the team's buses to the high school fieldhouse where an impromptu celebration was held around 3 a.m. Saturday.

Fans greeted the buses at the fieldhouse, where the big trophy was showed off to everyone, and fireworks were set off.

Debbie Canady of the Henry County Rescue Squad said, "Theescort was the Rescue Squad, County Fire Departments, a EMS unit, Paris Fire, LOTS of Deputies with the Sheriff, and Paris Police. They met the team at the County Line and escorted them all the way to the Field House with all the lights and sirens. There were lots of fans and well wishers from 218 up to Memorial Dr., too. Then a LARGE crowd at the High School. All the Lights were on at the Stadium when they got home. And another celebration on the field when they brought that BEAUTIFUL trophy HOME to Henry County. It was the most AMAZING Night. BIG RED PRIDE PERSONIFIED!"

Patriot defenders bring down Powell Quarterback Dus McPhetridge. (Tim Pharr photos).

Randall Dunlap receives Defensive MVP award. (Pharr photo).

Team Receives Cheerful, Tearful Send-Off

Cheering on the team at the high school (Shannon McFarlin photos).

 Paris, Tenn.-Amid much cheering, clapping, music-playing--and, yes, even tears--the Henry County Patriots football team were sent off in style Friday morning to its state football championship game in Cookeville.

In two chartered buses, the team left town surrounded by a sea of red. Patriots' fans young and old lined the driveways at the high school and Rhea Elementary and the highways and streets along the route that the team and its entourage are travelling.

At the high school, the band played while students and teachers clapped and danced. Students and teachers at Lakewood stood in front of their school on Hwy. 79 as the team buses drove by.

The band kept the crowd moving. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

The sheriff's department gives escort to the team buses. (McFarlin photo).


                                    Roll, Red, Roll

Kim Foster, Destrey Moore & Nathan Owens, Jake the dog, Adam Owens, Tammy Owens, Allie Ridgeway, Angie Ridgeway and Brittany Scarbrough with a sign on the Owens' home on Lankford Rd. (McFarlin photo).

Tiffany Latta shows her support at the rally. (McFarlin photo).

A sign with a common sentiment at the rally. (McFarlin photo).

Fans lined up across from the high school showed their support. (McFarlin photo).

Hundreds Crowd Commercial Building For Patriots' Fund-Raiser

Football Player Andrew Jelks signs his autograph for Mary Kate Coley and Rylee Counce. (Shannon McFarlin photo).

Paris, Tenn.-Over 400 Patriots' fans crowded into the commercial building at the Henry County Fairgrounds Thursday night to eat burgers, buy t-shirts and game tickets--but most of all, cheer on their team.

The high school Quarterback Club sponsored the fund-raiser and the Patriot faithful showed up in force. Football Coach James Counce thanked all the fans for their support through the Patriots' perfect season.

"This has been a hectic week," he said, "but I hope everyone will come and support Big Red and we'll come back with a big gold ball."

Four chartered buses will take fans to the game. Hulce Sporting Goods donated the championship t-shirts that were sold at the fund-raiser.

Volunteers worked hard on the burgers. (McFarlin photo).

Head Football Coach James Counce thanked the fans for their support all season.

Patriot football players and coaches enjoy a hearty meal. (McFarlin photo).

                                 Patriots Are State-Bound!

Shaquille Allen is led by Jordan Hefner and Mason Peale during last night's game. (Tim Pharr photo).

Paris, Tenn.-Dreams really do come true and the Henry County Patriots continued its dream season right into the state championship match Friday night with a 40-14 victory over Hendersonville.

For the first time in school history, the Henry County Patriots will play for the Class 5A state football title at the Blue Cross Bowl in Cookeville at 7 p.m. next Friday night Dec. 3. The Patriots will meet Powell in the state title match.

As the game ended Friday night, fans ran onto the field in jubilation. Unlike most other games during the season, the Patriots started out slow Friday night, allowing Hendersonville to gain a 3 point lead early in the first quarter. But the Patriots blocked Hendersonville’s second attempt at a field goal and after that, the offense took control of the game, gaining yards and making touchdowns.

There was a standing room only crowd for the game and the horns and cheers from Patriot Stadium could be heard for miles. School personnel were advising people planning to attend the game to get there at least two hours ahead of time if they planned to get good seats.

With Patriot fever in high pitch, it has been predicted that Henry County will appear like a ghost town next Friday night as most everyone will be traveling to Cookeville for the game. For those of you not making the trip, you can listen as always on WLZK 94.1 or on our website.

Felix Adams tackles a Hendersonville defender. (Tim Pharr photo).

It was standing room only as some 10,000 crowded into Patriot Stadium for the Class 5A semi-final game Friday with Hendersonville. (Tim Pharr photo).

Najee Ray carries the ball while Jordan Hefner leads the way. (Pharr photo).

Henry County Beats Ridgeway 24-14 November 18, 2011

Caleb Counce breaks free against Ridgeway defenders. (Pharr photo).

Brad Owens brings down a Ridgeway player. (Pharr photo).

Shaquille Allen runs for a 41-yard touchdown run. (Pharr photo).

Patriots Beat Clarksville Northeast 30-7 November 11, 2011

In this game, Shaquille Allen finished with 206 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Henry County had 463 yards of total offense and held Clarksville NE to just 64 total yards.

Brandon Donaldson pulls in a 17-yard pass reception.

James Brooks runs for a touchdown. (Pharr photo).

Caleb Counce leads Shaquille Allen on a run. (Pharr photo).

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