Washington, Ill. football team gets help from playoff opponent

Washington, Ill. football team gets help from playoff opponent

The mayor of the central Illinois community of Washington says storms and tornadoes destroyed or heavily damaged between 250 and 500 homes in the Tazewell County community.

Print
Email
|

by Doug Vaughn / KMOV Sports

KMOV.com

Posted on November 19, 2013 at 9:15 PM

(KMOV.com) -- Amid the tragedy in Washington, Illinois there is an incredible story developing. Washington high school's football team is a perfect 12-0 this season, and last Saturday qualified for the state semi-finals. But on Sunday, Washington was devastated by an EF-4 tornado that left one dead and more than 100 injured. Many of the players and coaches had their homes heavily damaged or destroyed. It's been a struggle just finding their equipment in the rubble. But Saturday's game is still on.

Washington's opponent in the semi-finals is Sacred Heart-Griffin of Springfield, Il. Sacred Heart-Griffin head coach Ken Leonard wanted to do something to help his opponent, so he rallied his community to help the people of Washington.

"Our goal is to be champions," said Leonard. "And that's what we're going to try to be on Saturday afternoon. But more importantly, our goal is to be Christ-like. So either you can talk the talk, or walk the walk."

Parents and boosters from Sacred Heart-Griffin are collecting donations to be sent for Washington's relief fund. They've organized six buses to pick up fans of the Washington team and take them to Springfield for Saturday's game. They're also providing meals for the Washington players, and for the fans that make the trip to the game.

"They want to get back to normal," said Leonard. "So they want Saturday to be as normal as possible."

Sacred Heart Griffin is a perennial power in Central Illinois high school football. They won state championships in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Washington hasn't won a state title since 1985. Leonard says they'll be a tough team to beat on Saturday.

"They're going to use this as an incentive. They're going to be fired up. We're going to have our hands full, because they've got a lot to play for."
 

Print
Email
|