BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Count Blountstown among the handful of area volleyball teams still fighting for a state title, and still fighting through some rather incredible circumstances to play and practice.
The Tigers no longer has their home gym in use. Most of its roof was destroyed and the floor is badly damaged, so the team is using Altha's gym (among others) as it makes a playoff run.
The champs of 1A-3, coach Summers and her team beating Franklin 3-0 in their first round match Thursday night, taking their record to 21-5, and putting them up against cross-river rival Liberty Tuesday in the 1A region finals.
Again, a team succeeding in the face of serious adversity!
"We've had some generous people that are letting us use their facilities." head coach Leigh Ann Summers told me Monday. "Just getting everybody together and starting the whole process was difficult, but these kids are, half of them didn't have power, they didn't have running water, generators were running for anything that they had. So there was a lot going on, and I think volleyball was an escape, a way for them to focus on something other than what was going on at home. And so we've run with it from there."
And the coach says she's very impressed with the way her players have handled it all.
"I've struggled with what I have to do here at the house and then getting to practice and getting in the right frame of mind, and these kids have done it like it's something they do every day. They've risen to the occasion and that's what you want to see from any young individual. It's not easy, life's not going to be easy, but it's how you react, and how you do when your back's up against the wall. And these girls have shown true resilience and some fight, and I think you see that on the court when they play as well."
That match with 22-4 Liberty set for 7 eastern Tuesday night. Blountstown did win their two previous matches this season.
Another 1A region final Tuesday night, Sneads hosting Baker. The two winners meet next Saturday in the state semifinals.