TOWN CREEK, Ala. – Hatton High School is waiting for the snow to fully melt so they can assess the damage after both their main football field and practice field were vandalized earlier this week.
The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office has zoned in on “a few” suspects. Meaning, more than one person may be responsible. Law enforcement tells NEWS 19 they expect the investigation to conclude in a matter of days, citing they made significant progress, Friday.
In a tweet, the school said “We do not work as hard as we do to have this happen. Absolutely ridiculous. The amount of time, effort, and money that goes into this place for someone to do this.”
Initially a $500 reward was offered straight from the pocket of head football coach Denton Bowling. That reward grew after several coaches and community members offered to help. The school did have pieces of security footage and turned it over to the sheriff’s office.
“It’s like someone stole your time, effort and energy. The hours you stayed away from your family. Not just myself but other coaches that take care of this field. It’s a staple of the community. It feels like you’ve been attacked,” said Coach Bowling.
As far as the estimated damages, the situation is fluid.
“Depending on the price of sod and how bad it is…sand and top soil all that going in. I would say low-ball between $5,00-$8,000,” said Coach Bowling.
There’s a chance the damage to the grass field is deep enough to impact the sprinkler system. If that is the case, Bowling estimates the bill could be closer to $20,000. The coach says some people clearly underestimate how much work goes into making a football field safe and ready for athletes.
“You are probably looking at 10-12 hours a week to get this thing looking right,” said Bowling.
There is a gate that had to opened by the suspects to gain access to the main football field. Coach Bowling says the gate is typically locked. However, this time it wasn’t after a mad dash to get softball games on the schedule.
“I’m all about going and having fun. But when it is at the expense of others, this is where we have graduation at Hatton High School. This is where countless members of this community that have bleed and sweat here. This is pride,” said Bowling.