One near the goal post. Another under the bleachers. A third in the gravel parking lot.
"I swear," said Tacker, football coach at this small school in northeast Mississippi, "someone keeps throwing them out here."
He doesn't really believe that.
The bolts, Tacker knows, are painful reminders of what happened in this tiny town on April 27 — when an EF-5 tornado tore through the city's main street, killed 17 people, leveled much of the school's campus and barreled over the football field.
Smithville is still, literally, picking up the pieces.
It's still winning football games, too - seven of them, to be exact - and it's still making the playoffs.
Less than seven months after the nation's strongest tornado in three years ravaged the community, the Seminoles (7-4) travel to Durant High today in a first-round game of the MHSAA Class 1A playoffs.
"I'm not going to lie or sugarcoat it," said school principal Chad O'Brian. "When the season started, I didn't think we'd have to worry about going to the playoffs."
Even Tacker, the sixth-year coach and longtime Smithville resident, didn't expect a trip to the postseason - not this year, not after he lost 12 seniors, 16 starters, his locker room, field house, scoreboard, practice sleds, weight room and office.
"Surprised," he said, "would be a good word."
They're here, though, in the playoffs - the primary goal for any football team in this football state, where small towns like Smithville pride themselves in the play of their football teams.
Their reward: A game against two-time defending 1A runner-up Durant (9-2), a team coached by Sleepy Robinson, the former Mississippi State University quarterback.
"They haven't beaten us yet," Tacker said Wednesday. "That's why we play."
Don't count these tradition-rich Seminoles out just yet.
The school, which sits about 50 miles north of Columbus, near the Mississippi-Alabama line, has two state championships (1993 and 1998), has had an undefeated regular season as recently as 2009 and has made the playoffs in 26 of the last 31 years.
This year, the Seminoles ran off six straight wins at one point and, surprisingly, claimed their region's No. 3 seed in the playoffs.
When asked about his team, Tacker laughs from behind a shanty metal desk from within a double-wide trailer the squad uses as a locker room.
"We're out-athleted every time we step on the field. We're not explosive on offense. We're not the stone wall on defense," Tacker said. "We just play hard."
Said Garrett Wouldridge, a two-way lineman and one of just two senior starters: "We have a lot of heart this season — more than we've had in the past."
On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, 23 players trot out of their make-shift locker room that double-wide trailer, and head toward a small practice field on the school's desolate campus.
The gravel driveway crunches under their cleats. Above, blue tarps flap in the wind, smacking damaged roofs of windowless school buildings — reminders of what third-term Mayor Greg Kennedy calls "one heck of a day that changed Smithville forever."
Turner Sanderson, the team's fullback and middle linebacker who has run for 800 yards, scored 11 touchdowns and made 60-plus tackles this season, saw the tornado.
He was helping his grandmother, mom, sister and brother into a storm shelter when he looked up to see the half-mile-wide dark mass he refers to as the "big cloud."
"Big cloud roared, the ground shook and we got in the shelter," Sanderson said.
Just one player on the football team lost his home to the tornado. It is one of few homes rebuilt.
Trailers and foundations still line the city's main street. A sign in front of a flat concrete slab reads, "Smithville Baptist Church. Rising from the rubble."
An American flag waves where the police station once was.
The town has lost nearly 50 percent of its population, Kennedy said, down to 550 people. Smithville High still hovers around 170 students.
The school suffered extensive damage. O'Brian estimates 80 percent of the campus was destroyed. Classes have been relocated, at least until 2013, to a $3 million, 42-trailer complex next to the city's industrial park.
One of the few standing buildings on the original campus, a technology center, is heavily battered. A shingle is lodged in the center's cracked stucco facade — the chilling evidence of 205 mph winds.
One structure that is new: the football stadium.
"That was the quickest thing we could do to get some normalcy back," Kennedy said.
Tacker found his football field in a mess after the tornado.
"It looked like somebody had shot stuff out of a shredder," he said.
Three of the four light poles were gone. The fourth was stuck in the field.
"We had to get a tractor to pull it out," Tacker said.
A seven-man blocking sled was turned into "a pile of mess" and was found on the adjacent baseball field. Patches of grass were missing and "there was more gravel on the field than in the parking lot," said the 36-year-old Tacker.
He found a car axle and a lamp near midfield. Each goal post and both sets of bleachers were mangled.
"It looked like a bomb had hit," Wouldridge said.
On Wednesday, an hour before practice, Tacker looks upon his rebuilt field — new goal posts, lights, bleachers and scoreboard.
"If we would have had to play somewhere else, I think they would have played hard, but it wouldn't have been the same," Tacker said.
Nothing else, at least, has been the norm for this team.
The tornado hit on what was supposed to be Day 3 of spring practice. They never finished.
Summer workouts took place in a massive workshop. Players used rusted weights they moved from their roof-less weight room. All of the other locker room stuff — equipment, lockers, desks, tables — was loaded into an 18-wheeler.
It stayed there until a week before the first practice, when the temporary locker room arrived: a trailer. Washing machines and dryers finally arrived in late August. There are no showers.
"I told them from Day 1," Tacker said, "that we're not going to use this as an excuse."
It would be so easy to.
Sanderson, a 5-10, 190-pound junior, is the last one to arrive to the practice field Wednesday.
He exits from the locker room trailers, which sit where the band hall and the concessions were located before they were destroyed.
The gymnasium is gone. So is the school's agriculture complex and newly built two-story baseball fieldhouse.
Trees, snapped halfway up, surround Sanderson as he makes the short march to the field, past the plot of grass that used to be the locker room.
There's at least one thing that wasn't destroyed here — football.
"We're still the Smithville Seminoles," Sanderson said. "We still win."