Many have compared the recent September flooding to the Agnes flood in 1972. However, the world is much more technologically advanced now, than it was 39 years ago, and the Pittston Area football team took advantage of the that new technology when one of their own needed them most.
Last Saturday, Pittston Area head coach Mike Barrett sent a text message to his team and before he knew it he had an abundance of football players ready to do their part in the flood relief.
“All it took was a text message and we had 25 guys ready to go,” Barrett said. “It was such a devastating scene, but I was proud of how our guys stepped up and did what they could to help.”
One of the houses they ended up helping clean up was that of Pittston Area assistant coach Mark Naylor who lost much of his home when the flood waters rose five feet. When it was time to clean up, Naylor didn’t have to do it alone.
“I don’t have a whole lot of words to express my gratitude,” Naylor said. “It was very heartfelt and I am very appreciative of everything they did to help.”
One of the many Pittston Area football players who were there to help was senior starting quarterback Anthony Schwab. He compared the scenes of Duryea to a war zone.
“There was so much devastation in that area and it was heartbreaking,” said Schwab. “I have never seen anything like it and I don’t think any of my teammates have either. It opened everyone’s eyes right up.”
Barrett gave the team the day off on Saturday, but rather than sit at home and watch college football, they decided the right thing to do was to go out and help.
“We had the day off, but we wanted to help,” Schwab said. “The whole team was at Coach Naylor’s all day, trying to help him and his family the best we could. We cleaned and power washed his garage. Then we emptied his basement and pumped all the water out.”
Naylor wasn’t the only member of the team affected by the flooding. Sophomore lineman Mike Hughes and his family lost much of their home in Duryea.
“I feel awful for Mike,” Barrett said. “I guess there were some problems with the foundation, but it sounds like they may be able to fix it.”
The Patriots didn’t just help people they knew, they helped as many people in the Duryea area as they could.
“When we got there, we all went door to door seeing how we can help,” Schwab said. “I have never been more proud to be on this team than I am right now. We have a great group of guys and I love every one of them.”
In just his first year, Barrett has gotten a grasp on these guys and they seem to be responding well to the new philosophy. Barrett echoed the statements of his senior quarterback.
“They didn’t complain once all day and they worked with a smile on their face,” Barrett said. “We’re starting a program here and we’re off to a good start on the field and off the field. I love these guys.”