WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD)- Washington Panthers will be facing off East Saint Louis in a semifinal playoff game on Saturday.
The game day follows the 10-year mark of the devastating tornado. Ten years ago, one week after an EF-4 tornado ripped through Washington, the Panther football team went down to Sacred Heart-Griffin and lost. This year, Panther Pride seems to be at an all-time high, not only in recognition of the student-athletes but also in remembrance of that day.
Athletic Director of WCHS, Herb Knoblauch, said it was “almost like the stars aligning.” Adorning his 2013 Mid-Illini Champions shirt, he remembers all the help surrounding athletic directors and booster clubs helped Washington sports move forward.
Senior Brayson Barth is hoping for the community to continue to rally like they did ten years ago. “I remember going down to that game in Sacred Heart and just seeing the whole community come together. Hopefully, we can have the same environment here. The whole community here.”
Head Coach, Darrell Crouch, is coming up on the last moments of his final season. “It’s tough because you know no matter what, we win tomorrow, the next one is the last one.” He reminisced on the football season from ten years ago, stating that it was the toughest season in his seventeen years as coach.
Senior, Eli Papis, who had a home that was affected by the tornado, said that he feels like there will be a stronger community presence because of the 10-year falling on the same weekend as the big game. “I feel like a lot of the community will be there because of it, and that’s going to be really good.”
The game will be at Babcook Field in Washington at 1 p.m.