Early in the morning of September 18, 2008, a fire set by arsonists destroyed much of Huntley Project High School. The library, the gym, three offices and nine classrooms went up in flames.
Jay Santy is the head football coach at Huntley Project High School in Worden, about 20 miles east of Billings, Montana. Santy also serves as activities director and teaches biology.
In this exclusive interview, Coach Santy describes how this small community banded together after the fire to keep the school running and inspire the athletes to keep their school pride strong.
BFS: Tell us about the fire.
JS: We were in our third week of football, and our record was 2-0. Early Wednesday morning some arsonists broke in and started the fire; the firemen figured it started at 1:30 in the morning. I got to the school at about 2:30 in the morning and the school was ablaze, with firefighters working hard to try to save the school. When it was all said and done, the school was pretty much destroyed.
BFS: After the fire, did you consider canceling the season?
JS: No, that was not an option. We knew we had a very good football team, and there is no way these kids were going to let us cancel the season. It meant too much to them. We got a lot of help from different organizations in the community getting us equipped to play, and we still had our football field – and all you really need is a football field.
Read the Full Interview by downloading the article from the BFS Archives. A story like this can make great bulliten board material to inspire your team and athletes to take it to the next level.
With great community support, the Red Devils’s football team persevered to win the State Championships.