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Southmoore football players feel impact of tornado

At least 19 SaberCats lost their homes. Coach Jeff Brinkman is still trying to assess the damage.
by Scott Wright Published: May 21, 2013

— Southmoore football coach Jeff Brickman would much rather be worrying about how smoothly his quarterbacks executed the zone-read in spring practice.

Instead, he's was worried about where all of his players would sleep Tuesday night. Whether they have clean clothes to wear, or enough food for their families.

At least 19 Southmoore football players lost their homes in Monday's tornado that tore through the town of Moore and parts of Oklahoma City.

Southmoore senior Jake Spradling didn't need to see the destruction Monday afternoon to know his home had been hit.

“Once I heard that it hit the Warren Theater, I knew my house was gone,” he said. “I live right across the street from the hospital that was hit.

“I haven't been able to get in there to see it yet, but my dad has. I've only seen some photos. All that's left of our house is a bathroom and a closet.”

Spradling and his family spent the night in Norman with relatives, and many of his teammates did the same, while others sought refuge in hotels.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Brickman didn't know the extent of the impact on his football team, whether it be damaged homes, or the death of friends or family members.

“We still haven't been able to get in touch with all of our players. There could be more who lost homes,” Brickman said Tuesday afternoon. “My wife is the cheerleading coach, and she has some girls who lost homes, too. There are just so many people in the entire school who were impacted by this.”

That's why Brickman and the Southmoore football booster club decided to set up the team's website,, to accept financial donations. The site can accept funds via PayPal, or people can write checks directly to the Southmoore booster club by mailing it to the school.

“We're not just worried about our team. We want to help as many people as we can,” Brickman said. “We'll spend a few days gathering funds, and compiling a list of all the kids who lost their homes. However many kids we have on our list after about four days, we'll divide it evenly and cut them each a check. And as more money comes in, we'll keep doing it until all the money runs out.”

Help has already come from all over.

Spradling has signed to play football at Northwestern Oklahoma State in the fall. Five Northwestern coaches drove in from Alva Tuesday to help, bringing bottled water, Gatorade and bags of clothes. Three more guys are coming Wednesday.

“This is a disaster, but those of us who have been impacted by it are still so blessed. So many people — they don't really know what you're going through, but they know you need their support and that you're overwhelmed with everything,” Spradling said. “We've been very blessed with everyone who has come around to help us get through the disaster.

“God has a plan for all of us. Some things just weren't meant to last forever.”

by Scott Wright
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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