BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Ted Cooper Stadium at Bowles Field has seen 80 years of Blountstown football.
After laying a concrete foundation, construction on new home bleachers began Friday July 26th.
It had seen nothing like Hurricane Michael.
"It's been a long journey," football head coach and athletic director Beau Johnson said. "The district's number one goal is doing what's best for the school system and the school as far as academics, but sports are very important in this town."
The community takes recovery off the field day-by-day. But on and around the Tigers' field, rebuilding kicks off next week.
"We didn't schedule anything at home in the month of August to give our people a whole other month to make sure things go off."
Debris is cleared. The "to do list" is full.
"The bleachers we had were so damaged. They had to clear it all out, get everything gone, then come back and lay concrete foundation."
Construction began Friday. They'll need seats for big crowd expected against Marianna September 6th, their first home game since September 14th of 2018.
Lights are optional, but preferred and scheduled.
"We had old, wooden light poles. We're going to get Musco Lighting and better, stronger poles. That's going to be happening at the same time the bleachers are being put together."
The locker room is good as new.
"Just a few windows here and there. We got very lucky with that. You've got to find positives! There's a lot of negatives that happened! We fixed up in there real nice with a lot of history. We've tried to give the kids a haven inside there away from this wreckage outside that makes them still have a lot of confidence and feel good about themselves."
Winning will make them feel good too. The Tigers went 8-3 last season, mostly playing on the road.
They'll be ready to win anywhere soon.
"MaxPreps isn't going to care if we don't have bleachers and lights. We've got to get on a bus and go play somewhere. Mentally, we prepare for whatever."