East Webster playing on damaged campus

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

CUMBERLAND – The early-morning April 27 tornado may have demolished East Webster High School’s buildings and athletic facilities, but it didn’t destroy the school’s competitive spirit.
The girls fastpitch softball team hosted and won a state semifinals series on its storm-damaged campus just weeks after the storm.
“People who usually don’t come to games were here,” former player Swayze Hollenhead said last spring. “We dedicated the rest of our season to our community and fans.”
The Wolverines baseball team advanced last spring to the postseason, as did players from the tennis team.
In the fall, East Webster’s football team boarded a bus in Mathiston – where its students attend school at Wood Junior College – and traveled back to its Cumberland campus for its home season opener against Vardaman. The Wolverines won a thriller, 13-12.
East Webster principal Bill Brand, a former Wolverines athlete, believes athletics has helped greatly in the lengthy recovery process.
“It means a lot to the Cumberland community, an area that was hit so hard,” he said. “The school is the only thing there, except for a few churches.
“I think everybody was excited to see us back for athletics.”
Officials are hoping to return to campus for classes during the 2013-14 school year.
However, baseball, football, softball and tennis are all being played at new and upgraded facilities.