DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - As the City of Denham Springs begins to pick up the pieces and tries to get back to normal, students and parents got a little extra encouragement from an unlikely source.
"The only thing we can do at this point, to try to help this town, this community rebound, is to play football on Friday night," said Kelly Jones, Denham Springs High School principal in a pep talk. "You're going to run on this field next Friday night and you're going to show everybody that Denham Springs is not dead."
For students, it's a chance to forget about the soggy debris that litters the curbside and just play.
The NFL and the New Orleans Saints rolled in to Denham Springs High with stars like Deuce McCalister and Michael Lewis for a mini training camp.
"Once these kids get back on the field on that Friday night, it gives you something to look forward to," said Lewis.
This is a time to live out their dreams of that touchdown catch, or that one big play, and a time to rally the community.
"Football brings a community together. It unifies people of all colors, races. Everybody," said Roman Oven, NFL director for youth and high school football.
At times like these, when people have lost their homes, their cars, their jobs, it sometimes takes a game to teach us what we haven't lost: Our community, our heart, and our passion, our passion to play, to recover, and to win.
"We're going to run out of that fieldhouse next Friday night. It doesn't matter what the numbers on the scoreboard. They're winners just to have the opportunity to represent the city, to represent the school. That's a victory in itself," said Jones.
The Saints presented the Yellow Jackets football program in Denham Springs with the first of its new equipment donated by the NFL after the historic flooding.
The Yellow Jackets will play in Week 2 of high school football.