Washington football team hopes to lift town with state semifinal - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

Washington football team hopes to lift town with state semifinal win

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A town was destroyed by a tornado, but a team is hoping to help rebuild a community with a win tomorrow against Sacred Heart Griffin in the state football semifinal matchup.

Earlier Friday Washington players and coaches met with the media at Five Points Community Center to talk about the state semifinal matchup.  A game that could seem small when 10 players were displaced from their homes Sunday, but it's a big game.  They want to win for themselves and their town.

"Washington Strong" and "Through adversity we will triumph," Slogans that have developed as a town emerges from debris left after an EF-4 tornado ripped through Washington.

"You step out of church and you start running down the street getting people out," said Head Coach Darrell Crouch holding back tears. "I think that... of all those things... that's probably what I'm most proud of."

Brogan Brownfield lost his home. He escaped the storm with the shorts, t-shirt and gym shoes he was wearing.

"It was different being in a different house, staying the night and then having to get up early and come to Washington in the morning and then going back out to practice but then again when we get to practice, it just lifted my mind off of things," he said.

Despite off-field distractions, the team looks forward to the two hour escape during Saturday's state semifinal matchup. A bid to the state championship on the line.

"It's a win or go home game so we're going to be fighting out there and giving it our all tomorrow," said Senior linebacker Chris Friend.

Players spent the first two days after the storm helping family and friends. Then it was back to business as usual. The team practiced at Illinois State University, not because their field isn't playable but to get out of town.

Saturday SHG will be providing meals for players and fans. It will also be chartering busses to help fans get to Springfield for the game. Perhaps a matchup drawing more attention than the players are used to, but the goal is the same: Bring back a win for Washington.

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