Canton baseball team gets help from rival school after tornadoes

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The Canton High School baseball team has been helping rebuild after the town was ravaged by several deadly tornadoes over the weekend.

But now, the team’s focus is back on the game and is even getting help from a rival team who knows what they're going through.

The two high schools in Van and Canton are roughly 20 minutes apart.  The kids know each other and the coaches know each other.  In fact, Canton's head coach used to work at Van for a decade.


Normally, the two teams don't get along. But for at least one day, they had a reason to be brothers.

“We got to find a way to put it together,” said Canton HS Baseball Coach Jeff Priest. “And I know they will.”

What's helped the Canton Eagles is support from across Texas so they don't have to rebuild alone.

“People from all around towns I don't even know where they are,” said Canton HS pitcher Hunter Moore. “We have people from there helping and donating anything we need.”

Perhaps the most surprising of help came from someone canton does know — Van High School, an archrival.

“Coach Thomas had sent me a text yesterday. It's kind of unusual because we have such a heated rivalry between us,” Priest said. “Still, we know all of their kids, coaches, administrators. And they know us. We did the same thing for them when they were over there.”

Two years ago when a tornado ravaged van, the Canton Eagles were there to help. Now, it's payback – as pizza delivery.

“It means a lot to the community. Y’all went through the same thing a couple of years ago,” Priest told the rival baseball team. “I wish y’all the best of luck, and we’ll represent our district real well and keep continuing on playing.

“It's a big rivalry,” said Van High School catcher Jacoby Bogue. “But at the end of the day, we're all together in it.”

The fraternity that is high school baseball in Texas seems to be bigger than any rivalry on the diamond.

The Canton baseball team’s first round playoff series is a best-of-three affair. Game 1 is in Atlanta, Texas, on Friday night. Game 2 and a possibly Game 3 will be in Canton on Saturday.