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Lake HS football players step up to adversity

Less than two months after a deadly tornado ripped through Millbury and Lake Township, taking lives, destroying homes, and crushing Lake High School, the Lake Flyers are back on the football field.

It's a small sign that life at Lake is slowly returning back to normal. "We're going day by day here," said head coach Bob Abbey.

Abbey's yelling was a refreshing sound for the boys who made it back to the first day of two-a-day practices for the upcoming Flyers season. Players condition and practice at a makeshift field just a few hundred years from their destroyed school building.

"Coaches like to talk adversity. Our kids are living it. This is a reprieve for them," said Abbey. "We had two (players) completely lose their home. (A) couple of them have been through a lot."

One such player is senior defensive back Ben Sample. "My mom...called balling her eyes out and said the house was gone. Never would have though it would happen...everything was completely gone."

In a true example of team unity, Sample didn't have to look too far for help. Sample says on the day after the tornado struck, ten of his teammates were by his side helping him salvage what they could of his belongings.

The sense of team has carried over not just to fellow Flyers but to the entire community. "A lot of guys have stepped up," said senior fullback Carl Brown. "We have to adjust and overcome."

The Flyers will overcome on a brand new field being installed where their former field once was. The new turf field is nearly finished and is scheduled to be ready for the Flyers' first game in early September. The field, to many of those in Millbury, is a visual example that things are and will get better. Brown agrees, "I look at it everyday and it's nice. It's going to be a good time on our home field."

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