Tornado-ravaged Ill. city rallies around football - New York News

Tornado-ravaged Ill. city rallies around football

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Associated Press) -

Nearly a week after a tornado wrecked a large swath of their central Illinois city, the people of Washington found a cause to rally around as their unbeaten high school football team battled through a state semifinal.

Despite the support of 2,000 fans - many of whom were bused in by the opposing team - Washington High School's Panthers came up short Saturday, losing 44-14 to Sacred Heart-Griffin in a game in Springfield.

Still, for many in 16,000-resident Washington, the Panthers' chase for their first trip to a state championship game in 28 years was a welcome respite from cleaning up their devastated city.

Sunday's tornado killed one person there and destroyed or damaged more than 1,000 homes.

The houses destroyed included those of the Panthers' quarterback and several teammates.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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