ENOCH, Utah (ABC4) – Cooper McMullin remembers the rain starting and falling like never before while hiking in the mountains by his house on Sunday night.
“It really started coming down hard and at first it was kind of fun,” he describes to ABC4.com. “And then it got kinda real for a minute.”
What started as a refreshing rain in drought-ridden Southern Utah turned to disaster. The rain began to pour and McMullin and his friends ran down the slick rock mountainside to their homes, stepping through gigantic rivers of dirty water along the way.
“I’ve never seen water like that in my life,” the high school senior recalls.
The rain quickly gathered on the hard, dry ground and caused massive flooding in the small town just outside of Enoch. Reports indicate that more than 200 homes were damaged as a result, destroying basements, carpets, drywall, and other possessions for many.
In the aftermath of the flash flooding, the tight-knit community has rallied together to clean up and provide for those in need of assistance. Perhaps the most visible helpers of the group are the high school’s athletes, including McMullin and his teammates on the Canyon View High football squad.
With the season opener at Ogden High a little more than a week away, McMullin and the rest of the Falcons decided to forgo practice on Monday to provide community service to the waterlogged families in the area.
“A lot of kids on our team were affected with their houses being flooded,” the senior outside linebacker explains. “It just didn’t seem like a time that we should be playing football, you know? There are bigger things to do at the moment.”
Canyon View’s head coach, Chris Sawyers, was more than happy to give his team a day off to chip in and help out, a decision the players approached him with.
“I was really proud of them,” he says. “It was it was a good day to be their coach because they really made me understand that we’re teaching them the right things.”
The Falcons scattered throughout town to lend a hand and some much-needed muscle. Senior wide receiver and safety Cole Springer headed to the Red Cross set up at the local church. He says the gathering spot was so crowded with people willing to help that he had a hard time finding something to do at times, but was happy to do whatever he could.
“I was seeing a lot of my friends’ houses flooding and they’re just getting destroyed and it was really sad. I’m really glad that our team went out and did that,” he states.
Offensive and defensive lineman Gavin Foster says he was humbled to be able to assist the same folks that come out to watch them play on Friday nights.
“That’s our territory,” he boasts of Enoch. “They’re people we see in the stands, and people we play next to. A lot of people are former Falcons and kids that play on our football team so it was, it was really something to see the way that they were affected and see their faces light up when the football team rolls up, ready to help out.”
It wasn’t just the football team that made the rounds around the muddy and soaked streets of Enoch. Canyon View’s Athletic Director Michael Hudson was proud of all his athletes for taking a break from practice or training to support the town.
“There wasn’t a member of a team that wasn’t out helping,” he brags. “I saw baseball players walking down the street, stopping me asking, ‘What can I do?’”
Among the Canyon View teams helping out was the cheerleading squad. Needing to prepare for the start of the sports season, like the football team, they too decided to scrap practice on Monday to serve at the Red Cross center.
Senior cheerleader Kenzi Palmer and her teammates put down the pom-poms and went down to the church and helped unload supplies from a semi-truck for several hours on Monday. She’s happy they did so, even with the first game of the year rapidly approaching.
“We’re still learning our cheers so yes it was definitely a sacrifice but it was well worth it and I think it helped our team as a whole,” she explains.
Efforts are still ongoing in Enoch to repair damaged property and provide necessities for those who need them. With the start of the school year, and therefore, the start of the high school sports season just around the corner, Hudson laments the tragic loss caused by the flooding but sees the moment as a teachable and advantageous one for his students.
“It’s an unfortunate opportunity, but it’s still an opportunity that we had to give back. So that, that’s what’s really important to us is to be able to give back in some way.”