Aug. 28—MT. JULIET — Nearly 18 months ago, Mt. Juliet Christian’s athletic facilities were left in shambles by the March 3, 2020 tornado.
Last night, the Saints’ hosted Friendship Christian in the first high school football game on Edward Suey Field since that stormy night. A middle school game against Franklin Grace Baptist was held the night before.
New bleachers, a new scoreboard and a new lightning system greeted the fans who watched the teams play between two brand-new goalposts.
Only the pressbox is still missing. A new one is on order with an ETA of six weeks, athletic director Paul Christensen said. A flatbed was brought in for the game operations, including public-address, scoreboard and clock. He said the top row of the bleachers could be roped off for coaches and video, or they could use left field on the baseball field, which backs up to the football field and has a higher elevation.
“My theme for the night is we’re not done yet, but we’re home,” Christensen said.
The tornado was a blessing in that it brought needed improvements to the forefront.
“We’re rebuilding,” eight-year head football coach Dan Davis said earlier this week while in the process of turning on the lights in preparation of lining the field. “There were a lot of times we talked about things we wanted to do and want to build and want to fix. As much as the tornado damaged Middle Tennessee and things of that nature, it was also a chance to build and grow and do something different and new.
“We’re back in school. The football field is going to be online. We have brand-new lights. The stadium is coming back. We’ll have another pressbox in another month or so. Things are coming back and better than they were. If it took a little hardship to appreciate what we’ve had and God’s blessed us with, then it was worth it to get to the final result.”
“You never want to say it was a needed improvement what we’ve done, but it needed a little updating,” longtime defensive coordinator Tommy Wilson said. “God always has a plan if you let it work out. The field looks good. The lights are up. We’re thrilled to be back on our field. The kids are excited about opening up here.”
Golden Bears provide disaster relief for Waverly footballWhile Mt. Juliet Christian continues its recovery from disaster, another has unfolded less than 100 miles to the west where devastating rainfall left the football field at Waverly High School under water with all of the Tigers’ equipment destroyed.
Mt. Juliet High coach Trey Perry witnessed the destruction from afar and immediately went to see what his Golden Bear program could do to help, remembering the experience West Wilson Middle School (located next to MJCA) went through with the tornado.
Perry and his staff rounded up brand-new cleats, neutral color warmup shirts (Waverly’s primary color is blue while MJHS dons black and gold), white game pants and 50 pairs of shoulder pads that, though used, are still in good condition. An assistant coach delivered them to Waverly on Tuesday.
“The coach who took it there said it was like a war zone,” Perry said. “He said everything we sent will be utilized. They were very appreciative and they would use it right now.”