MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - An already difficult football season turned even worse for Central-Hayneville High School in Lowndes County when the team's field house went up in flames, a total loss.
"When the fire department got there it was toast," said Athletic Director Toriano Baker.
The facility was toasted along with the weight room, the concessions stand, offices and film room.
"It's the middle of the season and this is very difficult," lamented Principal Peggy Grant.
It's difficult in light of the fact the team hasn't won a game yet. It's 0 and 4 so far for the season, but when you hear running back Brandon Burke talk you get the sense the players are winning at something they consider far more important; developing character and the art of forging ahead.
"God has bigger and better plans for us," Burke explained, and it appears things are getting better.
Donated equipment has been arriving daily since the Alabama High School Athletic Association sent out a mass email asking athletic directors and principals at all Alabama public high schools for help.
"I got so many calls yesterday I had to pull over. It was greatly appreciated," Baker admitted.
The flood of help is appreciated because Central-Hayneville will have the equipment it needs to play Friday night. Shoulder pads and helmets are now in-hand for the team to play Isabella on the road in Chilton County.
For the rest of the season the team will be on the road. It's another life lesson to tackle.
"They're learning very quickly you got to take those punches and keep moving," Grant said. "The hard knocks will come."
Investigators are looking at an electrical issue as the possible cause of Tuesday morning's fire. For a day or so it all seemed fuzzy for the team, the shock of losing everything in their field house. Now a clearer focus is starting to emerge after realizing so many from so many miles away do care.