UW-Platteville football rebuilding stadium, while entering a yea - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UW-Platteville football rebuilding stadium, while entering a year of high expectations

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PLATTEVILLE (WKOW) -- When UW-Platteville head coach Mike Emendorfer first saw the damage that had been done to the Pioneer's football stadium, he had doubts that his team would have a home field for the 2014 season. Emendorfer walked the field early in the morning on June 17, after an EF-2 tornado ripped through town the night before.

"My first reaction, I thought the stadium was completely damaged. I thought holy cow we're going to have to rebuild this entire stadium and that's going to displace us for the entire year," Emendorfer said.

The tornado bent light poles in half, ripped through fences, knocked over trees and even damaged the cement foundation of the stadium seats. The aftermath in Platteville was chaos.

"It was a little depressing at first. Me and a couple guys had talked, especially being a senior, there were a couple rumors saying we might not play here at all," senior defensive back Bryan Whitehead said.

"It tore up the concrete, it moved the football field, the debris, the trees, just the destruction and how sad it was to see a beautiful facility destroyed within moments," Emendorfer said.

Some people in town suffered injuries, but fortunately there were no fatalities, which allowed the community to begin the rebuilding efforts almost immediately. In 36 days, the community has made significant progress repairing Pioneer Stadium and the plan is to hold the team's home opener on Sept. 13 against Dubuque in Platteville.

"It should not affect what we do, we should still expect to perform at a high level," junior defensive back Logan Emendorfer said.
"You're going to have people saying it's ok for them to lose a couple games because they had this disaster, but that's not acceptable."

"We talk about adversity all the time and this is a great challenge for our football team and our campus. We really believe this will make us stronger going into the 2014 football season," Mike Emendorfer said.

To see the video version of this story, click on the link after it airs Tuesday on 27 News at 10pm.
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