Using football to overcome flooding


HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WIAT)- Football offers an escape for millions of players across the country. It’s an outlet for any pent up emotion, from anger to excitement. “I like hitting people,” said Itrez Steele, a defensive end for Homewood Patriots.

Steele’s time on the gridiron also allows him to forget what happened five months ago. In April, his family’s Lakeshore Garden apartment flooded during a torrential downpour that covered many parts of Jefferson County in water. “We just picked up everything and put it to where it wouldn’t get ruined by the water,” said Steele. “We made it upstairs, and the police came and escorted us out through the water.” After the Steele family left their heavily damaged home, they stayed two days in a make-shift shelter at Dawson Baptist Church. While it would have been easy to complain or be self-centered, Itrez Steele worried more about his mother and making sure she was comfortable. “She’s the one who raised me,” he said.

Since leaving Dawson Baptist, the Steeles are back in an apartment at Lakeshore Garden, but it’s not as big as their previous one. Without adequate for the entire family, some members are forced to sleep in the living room. “It’s forced him [Steele] to grow up,” said Homewood High School coach Ben Berguson. “It just makes him a stronger person having to deal with stuff like that.” Being a stronger person isn’t exactly what Steele’s opponents on the field would like to see out of the junior. With his current state not back to normal, however, that’s exactly what Steele plans to do in an effort to earn a college scholarship. “Get in the weight room,” he said. “Get strong, get fast.”

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