Outcome not most important item this week
Like any game, fans of the T.R. Miller Tigers and W.S. Neal Blue Eagles wanted their teams to win their respective games this weekend.
Even though T.R. Miller kept its undefeated season intact with Saturday's 56-21 victory over Andalusia and W.S. Neal remained winless with Friday's 38-14 loss to Trinity Presyterian, perhaps for the first time the outcome was not the number one thing.
Not when everybody in both Brewton and East Brewton have had their lives turned upside down by Hurricane Ivan.
Prior to Ivan, most in both communities felt there was nothing that could upstage football. With down power and telephone lines, trees on top or even through houses, waiting patiently and more likely impatiently at long supply lines, football and other extra curricular activities have become secondary.
W.S. Neal football coach Shane Smothers went more than a week without a full squad workout. That was not exactly the ideal way to prepare for 2003 Class 4A state champ Trinity Presyterian, a program that brought an 18-game winning streak into East Brewton Friday.
"We've had a tough time even getting hold of a lot of our players. Some of them left the area. Some of them have no phone service," Smothers said.
In addition to communication difficulties, the Blue Eagles were lacking player personnel for other reasons.
"We've had some of our players who haven't been able to get to practice because they've had to help their families at home after the storm. That's where their number one priority needs to be right now," W.S. Neal coach Shane Smothers said.
The recovery work has gone just beyond home. Many members of the T.R. Miller Tigers spent time assisting citizens with cleanup in addition to their personal work at home.
"We had a sign-up list for players to assist in the community cleanup program and a bunch of them participated. They also had cleanup work at home to do. The kids have gone beyond the call of duty," T.R. Miller coach Jamie Riggs.
Considering what the area has gone through, the T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal contests gave the Brewton and East Brewton communities perhaps its best gift, a diversion.
"People here have been through so much lately. They needed something to take their minds off what has been going on. Hopefully our game helped out in that respect," Riggs said.
Fans and parents from Trinity Presyterian brought various food and supply items for those in need when they played at W.S. Neal Friday.