NAUGATUCK, W.Va. — The Tug Valley Panther football program suffered a severe setback this week when water inundated the entire football complex at the high school in Mingo County.
Waters from the Tug Fork River started to rise Sunday evening. There was concern at the time it might get into the football stadium. Coach Hady Ford and his assistants decided to put some of the equipment in the field house to a higher perch just in case.
“The night before we came down and picked some stuff up. They weren’t predicting it was going to be that high, we were thinking surely it wouldn’t get up that high,” Ford told MetroNews.
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Turns out the prediction was wrong and the efforts were in vain. By daylight of Monday, the water was halfway to the door knobs on the field house and rising. The water didn’t stop until it almost touched the ceiling. Ford said entering the field house for the first time was a crusher.
“It looked like a tornado went through. A hot water tank had flipped over, with all the lines broken and the wires pulled out. The washer and dryer were turned over. The lockers are wooden, so they raised up and turned over. It tore up everything we had,” he said.
Everything in the program was stored in the field house. All off the football pads, helmets, tackling dummies and other equipment was there. Uniforms are gone, dressing facilities, training facilities, coaches offices and lockers are trashed. Plus the field and stands will need work along with other storage buildings in the complex which was built less than five years ago.
“It got about four or five bleachers up and even the concession stand had two commercial refrigerators, the stove, and everything looked like a tornado went through there. It flipped everything upside down and on top of each other,” Ford explained.
He said the next move will be the critical one and replacing the gear won’t be easy.
“We’ll figure it out. God always takes care of us. It’s a tough lick, but like we always say we’re ‘Valley Strong’ and we’ll get through it,” he said.