JACKSON, Ky. (FOX 56) – In the midst of great tragedies, sports often take a back seat. The flash flooding in eastern Kentucky has done just that for Breathitt County High School football coach Kyle Moore.
“It’s a somber time and your heart breaks when you see those things, and we’ve dealt with flooding before but you see this on tv and other parts of the country and you don’t really realize how bad it is until it hits you,” Moore said.
This time of the year, the pylons at high school football fields should be in the endzones at practice. At Breathitt County high school, they washed away to the creek side, lying beneath the mud line left on the leaves and the trees.
“It’s something like I’ve never seen before or can even get my head around,” Moore said. “It’s unworldly, people have lost everything, people have lost lives, they’ve lost loved ones.”
Moore watched as six feet of water flooded his football field and, more importantly, his community. He, like many others, were trapped for hours or days before the water receded enough to get into town.
His first trip back to the stadium was a tough one, seeing the locker room destroyed. Covered in mud, lockers broken, equipment ruined, trophies tarnished, soda machines turned on their side, the water even rose up to the state championship pictures feet above the ground.
While they tended to their homes and communities, they got some help with the football side of things.
Coach Doug Charles and the Lexington Christian football program stepped in, taking the trip down to Jackson to pick up all that equipment, cleaned it and got it ready for the Breathitt County players to get back to practice.
Then the team worked out an agreement with Eastern Kentucky University to stay at the dorms for a few nights this upcoming week, be fed on campus, and get back to practice at Madison Central’s field. Madison Central’s head coach is Mike Holcomb, who coached Breathitt County for two decades and coached Evan Moore.
“I know we’re not gonna be taking it easy on them we’re gonna be practicing pretty hard but we’ll at least take a few breaks during practice and during the day, they haven’t had a break in a week so it’s gonna be good for us,” Moore said.
Coach Moore certainly wants to trade out that power washer for a clip board and whistle. They are within days of getting back to practice and they are set on playing Week 1 of the season on August 19th. That is scheduled for a home game but they have more work to do to get the field and stadium ready for a game.
This is bigger than football right now but these relief efforts often take something impactful from team sport: working together to accomplish a goal.
“For whatever reason when something happens people around here just put their head down and go to work and if a neighbor needs something you help them and it’s a special place it’s hard to put into words,” Moore said.
But they know how much high school football means to small communities like this one. They want people to know they’ll be back on the gridiron soon.
“If I had to say anything about the people of Breathitt County it’s just they’re just tough people here are built different and they’re just tough,” Moore said.
“We’re in the process and it’s gonna be a long process but we’re gonna be OK.”