Storm-battered teams face final football showdown
With all C.E. King and Kingwood high schools endured after Hurricane Harvey, emotions at their final game went beyond winning or losing.
Perhaps no two high schools in the Houston area sustained more storm-related damage than C.E. King and Kingwood. Both were displaced from their school buildings for months, and many players on both teams had their homes damaged or destroyed.
By early November, there were few physical remnants of those harrowing days in August, just days before the start of football season, when Harvey poured high water over Houston like soup into a bowl. Now, there was just football.
Their final matchup of the season would lock down the fourth and final playoff spot in their division, keeping the dream of a run through the playoffs and of a state championship alive for another week.
Above: C.E. King's color guard stands in position before the start of the game.
Kingwood's drill team watches the game.
Kingwood players arrive on the field before suiting up for the game.
C.E. King players warm up before the game.
Members of C.E. King's drill team wait in the stands for the game to start.
Players from both teams meet with the referees.
There was nothing ordinary about this game or this season — not after all that these two teams, and this community, had been through.
Above: C.E. King's Christian Sanchez prepares himself in the locker room.
The C.E. King Panthers hold a team prayer in the locker room.
Much has been written about how football is more of a religion in Texas and tonight was no exception: Families, friends and fans filled the stands. Coaches stalked the sidelines. Players hustled and referees juked between huddles and hash marks.
Above: Members of C.E. King's choir watch the team come onto the field.
The Kingwood Mustangs score against the C.E. King Panthers.
Kingwood's Nolan Powell pauses in the locker room at halftime.
The Panthers drill team performs during halftime.
Kingwood's head coach Barry Campbell addresses his team at halftime.
King students and families were hit especially hard by Harvey. Some had to be plucked from rooftops and rescued by boats. Many landed far from home, and have been busing in to school and practice from far-flung hotels or houses packed with other marooned relatives.
Above: C.E. King linemen take instruction on the field during the game.
C.E. King's Rashad Wright is treated for an injury.
After the lights went off in the stadium during halftime, likely an issue caused by hurricane-related problems, the C.E. King band had to abandon its halftime show.
Kingwood celebrates their win.
C.E. King Coach Derek Fitzhenry consoles a player following the team's loss.
“And when that whistle goes off and we're done, then that's when we're going to be that father figure. That's when we're going to take care of you,” Fitzhenry said.
C.E. King Assistant Coach Oluwasegen Adebayo cries in the locker room.
C.E. King players comfort each other after their loss to Kingwood.
The C.E.King drill team performs as the stadium lights slowly come back after the outage.