NorthWood Football Helps Nappanee Community
In the aftermath of the EF-3 tornado and at a time when most of the Nappanee community was without power, the thought of Friday Night Lights could be trivial.
But getting the Panthers back on the field has been therapeutic for NorthWood.
Nappanee is rebuilding and it is healing, the NorthWood football team is healing as well.
"Every kid on this football team was affected by the tornado in one way or another," NorthWood coach Rich Dodson said.
The EF-3 tornado that ripped the small town of Nappanee apart has also in a way brought it together.
"All the guys came over to my house and helped us clean up after the tornado," said NorthWood Sophomore Cam Spitaels.
Cam was in the basement with his family when the tornado ravaged his home.
Grant McClung was staying at a friend's when his home was struck by the tornado.
"I just couldn't believe it," McClung said.
"I was just so thankful that my parents were OK."
The day after the tornado hit Nappanee, the NorthWood Panthers were supposed to play in the opening round of the playoffs. But the game was postponed as the community dealt with the devastation.
Instead, the game was moved to Bremen high school Saturday. While it was tough to focus at first the Panthers came out on top.
"We went into the locker room and said we need to win for the Nappanee community," Spitaels said.
They beat Marian and finally gave their fans something to smile about.
"For 48 minutes we were able to make football be the most important thing," Coach Dodson said.
Now the Panthers will host the second round of Sectionals Friday night on their home field.
Updated: October 23, 2007, 8:35 pm
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