With severe storms ripping through Siouxland last Friday, it's a night many high school football teams won't forget.
Wayne, Nebraska, was hit extremely hard. Friday was supposed to be filled with pomp and circumstance for the Wayne Blue Devils but in a matter of minutes that all changed.
"We had our homecoming pep rally. The sun came out and we thought it was going to be a great day for football. We were prepared for a great night of football," senior Jared Anderson said.
"We were actually watching it develop right through here and I actually had an argument, not an argument but a discussion, on whether it was just a wall cloud or a tornado and we found out that it was the tornado," said Wayne head coach Terry Beair.
Coach Beair and the team took shelter in their locker room but not everyone stayed inside.
"We kind of snuck out and saw the funnel coming down and that's when it kind of hit us that we might be trouble. It was just a huge black wall. We were shocked. It looked like it was coming toward the center of our town. We went back in and right as we sat down the lights went out," senior Payton Janke said.
For 30 minutes they waited as the EF4 tornado paved a destructive path towards Wayne.
"It was just unreal. It really didn't sink in until the next day," senior Jalen Barry added.
When they emerged, the east side of town had been leveled. Homecoming was postponed.
"It's really nothing you ever imagine happening to your town. It's something you see on TV, not actually happening in your hometown," Janke said.
Their focus no longer on football, the team turned its attention to the community and the cleanup efforts throughout the weekend.
"We just tried to get together and do as much as we could," Anderson said.
With the game moved to Monday, in the midst of picking up the pieces of their town, Coach Beair tried to gear his team back up for football.
"We tried to make it as normal as possible," Barry added. "It's just kind of hard after something like that."
Monday night, the sights and sounds of football returned to Wayne. Fans smiled and cheered. The Blue Devils took the field, their thoughts still with the community. They had one goal in mind.
"I told the kids, what a way to represent your community by going out and doing what you're supposed to and really, really bring a community together and something to cheer about," Beair said.
After 48 minutes the scoreboard showed a victory for the Blue Devils and for Wayne.
Coach Beair says Monday's win was the teams first homecoming victory since 2007. It's one of the biggest victories they've had this season.
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