Football team plays in state championship one year after devastating WKY tornado

WKYT News at 10:00pm (CW)
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 4:57 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2022 at 10:19 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It has been a trying year for the western Kentucky community of Mayfield.

Nearly a year ago, the town was destroyed by a deadly EF-4 tornado. In the almost 365 days since Dec. 10, 2021, the community has worked tirelessly to recover and rebuild. They count each step toward progress as a victory, knowing they are a step closer to a brighter future and big smiles.

On Friday, the community celebrated what seemed like a Cinderella story. After the difficult year they faced, the undefeated Mayfield Cardinals football team was playing in the KHSAA state title game.

“Our kids have worked hard coming off a real tough year, other than football,” said former coach Tom Couch. “We’re really pleased to be here.”

The team faced off against Beechwood out of Fort Mitchell. The same team that knocked Mayfield out of the playoffs last year, just two weeks before the storm.

Beechwood students and faculty came to help in recovery, showing when it comes to important things, they are all one team.

“They brought not only financial help and supplies, but they brought their hearts and their hands, said Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan. “It just doesn’t get any more heartwarming than that story.”

“It’s more than football,” said Fort Mitchell Mayor Jude Hehman. “It’s more than a wonderful game and the rivalry. It’s about Kentucky and it’s about fellow Kentuckians able to help.”

Just before the coin toss Friday, Mayor O’Nan and Mayfield school officials honored Beechwood and Fort Mitchell with a special plaque and thanked them for being there when the town needed it.

It shows no matter what the final score was, the life lesson here is worth more than any state title.

“We’re not in their shoes,” said Hehman. “I don’t know, other than stories, what she and her community has gone through. I have said I hope I never learn that, and that I don’t need help.”

“If he ever does,” chimed in O’Nan, “we will be on the road to northern Kentucky as quick as we can get there.

Mayfield came up short in the championship game, losing 13-14.