The recent spate of deadly floods that rushed through West Virginia has left entire communities ravaged and desperate for help as citizens struggle to regain a sense of normalcy. A key part of that search for many teenagers is the knowledge that they have a football season to look forward to.
Now one school in the state’s hardest hit areas is committed to just that, with Clay County officials insisting they will play their season, though they may have to do so in donated equipment and uniforms borrowed from opposing schools.
As reported by the Charleston Gazette-Mail and ABC affiliate WCHS, Clay County is committing to putting on a full 2016 season regardless of the significant setbacks suffered during the recent floods.
“Absolutely,” first-year head coach Jason Nichols told the Gazette-Mail when asked if his team would compete in the 2016 season. “One-hundred percent we will. No doubt.”
Given the losses Clay County suffered, that commitment is no small feat. The Gazette-Mail detailed losses that included headsets, a refrigerator, tackling dummies, a $1,900 equipment order that arrived the first day of major rains did and, “virtually everything else a team needs to practice for and then play a high school football season.” That doesn’t even include the caked mud on all walls that needed cleaning so the locker room would be usable again. According to WCHS, damages from the floods are expected to easily top $100,000 for the program.
Now some of Clay County’s biggest rivals have come forward to pledge old equipment and uniforms in an effort to ensure Clay County has the resources needed to put on a 2016 campaign. Those efforts haven’t been lost on the team’s own players, who insist the struggles which have emerged from the floods will ultimately bring the program closer together.
“Our uniforms may not match and our helmets may be different, but we will have a season,” junior linebacker Ryan Burdette told the Gazette-Mail. “Everybody comes out on Fridays to watch us play, so it’s vital for us and the community and the team.”