Illinois Football Players Team Up For Tornado Damage Control

The homes of seven players, coaches and teachers were leveled by a tornado that ripped through Washington, Ill., Sunday

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    Washington Central High School's winning football team gathered Sunday and Monday to help clean up after a tornado damaged or destroyed 400 homes. Natalie Martinez reports. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013)

    The winning football team from Washington Central High School knows how to come together when the chips are down. That's no more apparent than in the wake of a deadly tornado that ripped through the team's small Illinois community.

    "A bunch of our guys' homes are gone and one of our assistant coaches too," Coach Darrell Kroch said. "Yesterday we got in and today they won't let us in there, so we're trying to start here at the church, try to clean up here and just do what we can do." 

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    Community of about 15,000 people, near Peoria, was decimated by Sunday's storms. (Published Monday, Nov. 18, 2013)

    In all, more than 400 homes were damaged or destroyed, one person was killed and more than 120 people were injured when a powerful tornado raked across Washington, Ill.

    Coach Kroch said the homes of seven players, coaches and teachers were leveled. In response, the football team's staff and players did what they do best: look out for one another.

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    Gov. Pat Quinn speaks to the media before beginning a statewide tour of communities affected by Sunday's late-season storms that killed at least six and injured more than 120. (Published Monday, Nov. 18, 2013)

    "We tried to get the [debris and garbage] to the street," he said. "Our assistant coaches got back hoes and chainsaws. We're just trying to help out our town right now."

    On Monday they sifted through what's left of their small but tight community

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    A first aerial look at the damage caused by Sunday's devastating tornado in Coal City, Ill. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013)

    "We celebrated a quarter final win, 12 and 0, and then this happens the next day," said Casey Danley, a senior at the school. "It's crazy to think of this, but we're a great community. We have a bunch of great people in this community. We're coming together right now."

    They found usable equipment to break down and pile up tons of garbage that needs to be picked up when trucks eventually can get through these ravaged streets.

    "I've only seen this in movies," Danley said. "I would've never thought this would happen to a town near me, especially not my town."