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Field House Addition Is The Next Step For Blue Devil Football Program

This shot of the south end of the field house shows the dirt and drainage work performed to stabilize a long-standing erosion problem adjacent to the Blue Devil field house. The work also was a great opportunity to perform the prep work necessary for a field house addition. Cayce Washington and Frank Hyde are shown volunteering with the project. Much of the work has been performed using volunteer workers and equipment, along with help from the City of Water Valley. – Photo Provided

With the Blue Devil football season only weeks away, the team is working hard in the weight room. Head football coach Brad Embry attributes a quality weight room to the generous community support back in 2011. The football program needs extra support this year for a field house addition to accomodate the 70-plus athletes. – Photo by Mark Anthony

By David Howell

WATER VALLEY – A 1,600 square feet field house addition at the Blue Devil football field is in the early phases after a long-standing drainage problem was addressed this summer.
    Blue Devil football coach Brad Embry reported that work has been underway this summer to tackle the erosion just south of the field house. And, with the equipment already in place, it was a logical step to do the prep work for the slab.
    “We decided while we were doing the dirt work, we needed to go ahead and do the dirt work for the field house,” Embry told the Herald.
    The field house addition is needed to accommodate the athletes participating in the growing program.
    “We are going to maintain about 75 players and our current locker room has about 50 lockers – you do the math,” Embry explained.
    Embry would like to get the slab poured and dirt work and sod established before football season gets underway next month. When funding permits, the next step will be the erection of the metal building with air-conditioning.

Good Is The Enemy Of Great
    Embry acknowledges that the team has been very competitive in recent years, posting a 10-3 record in the most recent year after making it to the third round of playoffs before succumbing to an undefeated Eastside, an almost exact repeat season from a year earlier.
    “We’ve been good, but good is the enemy of great,” Embry said.
    “I believe there is no reason that Water Valley can’t have the best 3A program in the state, there is no reason we can’t have that. This is the kind of place you can have that,” Embry added, referring to the strong community support for the Blue Devil sports tradition.
    “I also believe we’ve got to continue to improve our program to get to that. Having a locker room that houses all your kids is pretty important,” the coach explained. “If you are not getting better, you are falling behind.”

Community Support
    Embry acknowledges that it will take an extra boost well above current contributions to the football’s booster club to make the field house addition a reality.
    Typically the booster club raises $10 to $15 thousand annually to supplement the team’s budget for bare necessities not included in the normal school expenditures.
    “You can buy a Boston butt or just come to a ball games, that helps,” Embry explained.
    “But this will take something extra,” he added.
    “The last time we didn’t have a weight room, the community rallied,” Embry added.
    “We got a good weight room, the weights are heavy and it is big enough. Now we need more room. We don’t need luxury, we just need efficiency,” the coach stressed.
    Anyone interested in helping with the project can contact athletic director Trey Allman or Coach Embry.

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