Silver Creek High School offensive line coach Russ Miller can count himself among the lucky ones who at least by some measure dodged the carnage of this week's flooding.
On Thursday, just before the worst of the flooding began, Miller was keeping an eye on weather updates and predictions while at work. The notion struck Miller around noon that he should head home to Columbia Drive in The Greens neighborhood in Longmont to check on his son Isaac Miller, a senior lineman and captain on the football team, and 18-year-old daughter Blythe Miller, who has Down Syndrome.
Russ and Isaac Miller decided to bring some things up from the basement in case they needed to evacuate. At the top of the stairs after his first trip, Russ Miller looked out his window and saw three feet of white water rushing down the street towards his home. He went outside and heard a woman screaming for everyone to get out of their homes.
Isaac Miller grabbed the family dog and Russ Miller carried Blythe Miller out to their truck and they left immediately. Days later, he said a few of his neighbors who waited longer to leave did so through shoulder-high water.
Russ Miller is glad he and his family left when they did.
"It was pretty scary," he said over the phone Saturday, waiting at the end of his flooded neighborhood to see if he'd be allowed to go assess the damage at his house. "I don't think I could have gotten my daughter through that current without a vehicle."
Since they left their home, the Millers have been staying with Isaac's teammate Donovan Rodriguez.
"The football community is an incredible one," Russ Miller said. "Everyone has just been great."
It's too early to say for sure how much Russ Miller's home and property have been damaged. But most importantly, his family is safe.
While Erie's football field probably took the worst beating of the area, the Tigers themselves remained mostly safe.
As far as coach Larry Gartrell knows, only assistant coach Bob Jensen had a close call. Jensen's son, B.J., is a junior running back and defensive back for the Tigers.
"They live down by the river, and it came up to about two inches to within his house," Gartrell said. "A couple houses to the west of there got flooded out coming through Boulder Creek there."
Boulder Creek runs between Highway 287 and Kenosha Road in the Erie area and was among several waterways with dangerously high water levels.
B.J. Jensen has rushed eight times for 77 yards in the first two games for the Tigers (2-0), whose Week 3 contest against Skyline, originally scheduled for Friday night, is in limbo until St. Vrain Valley School District administrators meet Sunday.
The good news at Boulder High? Recht Field seemingly escaped severe damage, despite its position alongside Boulder Creek.
The bad news? By all accounts, the Panthers' softball field is a tattered mess.
Boulder athletic director Melissa Warfield visited the campus Saturday morning and said the left field fence was decimated by the raging creek. There also was significant damage to the outfield and dirt infield that will need to be repaired before the Panthers can once again host a game.
"I sent a message to the district maintenance office to get out and repair the left field fence and get a new layer of infield mix," Warfield said. "But with a lot of schools having damage, we'll have to see when they can get to it."
Warfield is cautiously optimistic repairs can be made in time for the Panthers' home tilt against Fossil Ridge on Saturday.
Boulder already has postponed three events scheduled for Monday -- softball and volleyball at Loveland, as well as the boys soccer team's home date against Denver East. Warfield is looking to move Tuesday's scheduled home softball game against Monarch to the Coyotes' home turf.
Boulder hopes to reschedule the soccer game against Denver East for either Saturday Sept. 21 or Monday Sept. 23.
Staff Writers Brad Cochi, Paul Willis, and Pat Rooney contributed to this report
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