It's the middle of August and the only thing the 35 players from Gowanda should have on their mind is football. After flood waters from some powerful storms decimated their village two weeks ago, they don't have that luxury.
First-year coach Sean Gabel described the scene as "a pretty sad situation" and said their grass playing field is full of mud and "who knows what else." He said it's likely the Panthers will play all their home games on the road this season.
The players have been doing their part in the village to help with the cleanup. Gabel, who was promoted from assistant coach last year, said going to football practice has been an escape of sorts for the players, many of whom suffered damage to their homes.
Thursday's practice also included a team meeting. "I explained that we all see what's going and we're lucky to put the helmet and cleats on and play the game right now. Our main goal is to stay on task. It's a great community and we're all pulling together."
--Mary Jo Monnin