Moore, Okla., high school football team takes field first time after tornado

(CBS News) It's been more than three months since a deadly tornado ripped through parts of Moore, Okla. More than 20 members of a high school football team lost their homes. On Thursday night, they went back on the field, for the first game of the season.

In Moore, there are still plenty of scars from the tornado -- buildings are being repaired and homes remain abandoned. But the football field there gave people in the town a chance to focus on something else.

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As big as football is in Oklahoma, few games are as big as the one on Thursday night. When the Southmoore High Sabercats took to the field, it was a chance to prove they are bigger than the disaster that's defined their town. And they did it with a touchdown on the first drive.

But back in the spring, they were trying overcome an EF-5 tornado -- the most powerful type -- that killed 24 people and damaged or destroyed 1,200 houses.


The disaster left 22 members of the Southmoore football team without homes, including Brandon Dick. CBS News spoke with him one day after the tornado hit. He said back in May, "Our principal had got on the intercom and was like, 'take cover, take cover'."

Until recently, Brandon Dick and his family had moved from one temporary home to another. Football was his only constant.

Brandon Dick said, "Football is an escape. I look forward to every day, no matter where I was during that time, I had a place to go, football was my home."

His father James Dick watched him play. When CBS News' Manuel Bojorquez asked him, "What does it represent that he's back out on the field there with his buddies?" James Dick said, "It represents a getting back to the way it was. ... It's kind of hard to put a price tag on something like that."

Jeff Brickman helped bring them to this point. He became not only coach, but counselor to the team. Brickman said, "I thought they might want a little time off, but they wanted to go as soon as possible. ... It tells me how resilient kids are, but obviously, it also tells you that when something is going bad in your life, you can go back to that love you had like football."

And on Thursday night, it was football that showed how far they've come. The Sabercats defeated last year's state champions. Brandon Dick said, "People see that this tornado hit Moore, but they didn't expect us to come out and play like this. But we came through, we pulled out, one and 'O', the first week."

And it wasn't even close -- the Sabercats won 37-14. However, there is another number they're proud of -- the total they've raised to help families affected by the tornado: $87,000. During half-time on Thursday night, they got another check for $4,000.

Watch Manuel Bojorquez's report above.

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