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Oklahoma wildfires: On charred practice field, Luther gets back to football

While most of the town has been affected by the fires, and Luther player Joey Prince's family lost their house, the Luther Lions went forward with practice Tuesday in the hopes of getting a little bit of normalcy back.
by Scott Wright Published: August 7, 2012

“(Monday night) a lot of the football players went down and helped out at the donation center, just unloading trucks, sorting things out, carrying water,” senior quarterback Austin Weathers said. “We've had a lot of friends lose stuff, and any way we've been able to help, we've tried our best.”

Justin Wilson, an All-State lineman for Luther last season, lost his home, just as he's trying to prepare for a college football career at Emporia State in Kansas.

His cousin, Steven Northerton is a senior starter for Luther this year, and though he sees people like Wilson fighting through the devastation with a strong will, he knows it can't be easy.

“They're holding up, and if he's being strong, we've got to be strong for him, too,” Northerton said. “All this bad stuff has happened, and the best way to get past it is to get back to normal and get through it. Focus on what's ahead.

“It's hot and it's terrible out here practicing right now, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. It's the best place to be in times like this.”

As for Prince, he has spent the last few days out of town with family, but should be back to practice in the next few days. Until then, the Lions have a constant reminder of what their football brother and their whole town have been through.

“Half our field is black from the fire damage, but in a way, I think it brings our kids closer,” Meek said. “That field is a reminder to keep Joey in their minds when he's not here. Nothing good will come out of this — it's a devastating occurrence. But I think it brings the kids closer together. It brings the town closer together.

“The people in this town are tough. We'll get back to normal again.”

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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