"God willing, we will play our first home game here on this field this season."
Ed Thomas made this stunning prediction the day after an F-5 tornado struck his hometwon of Parkersburg, Iowa. With the town reeling from the deaths of eight people and the destruction of 250 homes and businesses within 34 seconds, they needed something to hope for, and their beloved high school football coach offered it to them. One hundred days later, the home team scored a victory on the field they called The Sacred Acre.
However, just as the town was starting to rebuild, another unbelievable tragedy struck. Ed Thomas was gunned down by a former student as he was coaching a group of athletes. What happened next in this incredible true story provides a lesson in grace and forgiveness that the people of Parkersburg and the entire nation won't soon forget.