Despite the destruction and devastation left by a tornado that struck their town, Washington Community High School's football team will play for a chance to at a state title on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
As many of 400 homes were destroyed in the town of around 15,000, where an EF-4 tornado touched down. One person was killed in Washington and more than 100 others were injured.
“Hopefully we can get a win and bring some of the community's spirits up, you know, just give something positive,” said football player Chris Friend.
At least seven football players and one assistant coach lost their homes in the tornado. On Monday, November 18, 2013, some members of the team were helping neighbors try to clean up.
“We're focused on, you know, helping as many people as we can,” said Friend.
Offensive Lineman Brogan Brownfield’s home was destroyed.
“I was in shock when I came up from the basement and saw that the whole neighborhood had been flattened, because there were people in their front yards...everyone was just in awe,” said Brownfield.
The Panthers' football field was not damaged in the storm, but because of a lack of water and electricity, the team will practice out of town in the days prior to their semifinal game.
Washington faces Sacred Heart Griffin at 1 p.m. in Springfield. Sacred Heart Griffin is sending charter buses to pick up fans and will feed the Washington football team.