In tornado aftermath, football helps heal Joplin

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JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) -- The high school football stadium still stands in Joplin. So much else is gone in the southwest Missouri town.

The tornado that struck in May swept away homes and businesses, killing more than 150 people and leaving billions of dollars in damage.

But there's comfort in routine, and the Joplin High football team provided a taste of normalcy Saturday night during a home opener like none the town has experienced.

More than 10,000 fans packed into a stadium built for 4,500. There was a moment of silence and a performance by country music star Kenny Foster.

Although Joplin lost to rival Hillcrest 21-9, in many ways the Eagles won just by taking the field.

Assistant Principal Dan Hueller says it's the type of experience they should remember, "not the disaster."