Eureka prepares for first home football game since devastating tornado

An EF-3 tornado ripped through Eureka, Kansas in June 2018. It carved a two-mile path through the town, damaged a dozen homes and the high school, and injured at least eight people.

The community came together to rebuild. Now, it's crunch time for construction on a new football field before the team's first home game in more than a year.

"I think it'll be a huge milestone," said Eureka High School football player Quinton Phelan. "I think it symbolizes how much we've come together."

The Eureka High School football team is holding its homecoming game September 27 on a brand-new field, where construction is nearly complete.

"We are two weeks away from our first home game, crossing my fingers," said Eureka football coach Jason Nichols. "They just finished the press box and the stands, I think they're still working on the away side. And they're still working on the lights."

Debris from the tornado meant the entire football field had to be dug up and redone. A failed bond issue and rainstorms earlier this year were road blocks to the rebuilding process. Now, Principal Sean Spoonts says he wants to move forward for fans and for the community.

"We're seeing progress," Spoonts said. "It's an added plus to have home games. People come into our city, they buy things. Gas. Food. So it'd be nice to get those home events back not just for our school but also for our community."

Some of the players KAKE News spoke with said they had been hoping to have the field open by the start of the season. But, that didn't happen because of weather delays. Now, they're going to have their first homecoming game at home, and it really is a "home coming" for the team.

"Whenever I drive by, every school day, I'm thinking," said football player Justin Zimmers. "One day closer. One day closer."

"It just makes you have butterflies in your stomach," said football player Terik Crisswell. "You're just excited to get back on."

"It's gonna mean a lot," said football player Zach Hare. "I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of players on our team broke down before we played."

"Hoping for a win," Phelan said. "I think we will. I think that'll be a great story for the future. First back from homecoming, coming back with a win."

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