MOORE, Okla. -- The yearly "Moore War" clash between Westmoore and Moore High football teams is Friday night.
For coaches and players, the game is a way to show the strength of their community. Ripped apart just a few months ago by an EF5 tornado, the fact that they are able to start their fall season on time is a testimony to the Oklahoma strength shown by the people of Moore.
“Hopefully it will be a good, positive community event and a great football game on top of that.” Westmoore Coach Billy Langford said.
Bragging rights are on the line, but players from Moore High describe their rivalry with Westmoore as "friendly."
“We grew up with those guys over there. I played little league football, little league baseball with a lot of those guys over there so it’s a friendly rivalry." Senior Evan Sprayberry said. "Until you get on the field and then it’s not so friendly anymore!” He laughed.
The tornado left the community searching for a way to make life seem normal again. Four months later, both teams believe high school football can bring that back.
"I think it’s going to be an exciting time for the community to come together and enjoy a normal football beginning again.” Moore High Coach Todd Waters said.
The Moore War is woven into the fabric of the community and all players believe it has never been more important than Friday night.
“It tells them that we still care. We have stickers on the back of our helmets, they say ’24 strong.’” Westmoore player Austin Malicott said.
“Actually, it really means alot, to us especially, and everybody to see us bounce back like that is just crazy. This game is going to mean a lot to everybody." Moore High player Ryan Lujan said.
No matter who wins, all players from both teams say that in a week or two they will all be friends again.
A “war” is helping a community get back to normal. "The Moore War" football game is actually helping the Moore community heal.
Deidre Ebrey, the Director of Economic Development for the City of Moore joins Kevin Ogle in the KFOR studios. She says events like the high school football games helps restore a sense of normalcy back to a devastated community, but more importantly, she is a graduate of Moore as well.
This is always a fierce competition for bragging rights, but this year, it goes much further. So much of Moore was impacted by the tornado. It's been three months now and the recovery continues.
Football is such a big part of community here in Oklahoma. Getting back to school, going to sporting events helps the mindset of residents.
We thank Deidre Ebrey with the City of Moore for being such a good sport.