Perry Perry Fire Chief David Warriner sloshed through a puddle 6 inches deep Friday afternoon at the Perry-Lecompton High School stadium.
"Is the hurricane here yet?" Warriner said after Friday morning's heavy rains.
Twelve firefighters and school district employees pumped about 270,000 gallons of water from the football field and stadium in about three hours, Warriner said, but their effort to save Perry-Lecompton's home football opener was futile.
At 3 p.m., Steve Johnston, Perry-Lecompton's superintendent, decided to move the game to the opponent's home field at Santa Fe Trail High School in Carbondale.
Perry may have received about 7 inches of rain Friday, said 6News meteorologist Matt Sayers, and about 3.5 inches fell at Lawrence Municipal Airport.
The morning downpour overwhelmed the field's pump system and, just before noon, school officials asked Warriner's department - along with the Rural Township and Fairview Township fire departments - to help remove the water. They used three trucks and several portable pumps.
Warriner and his crew already had cleared most of the field by the time the site change was announced, but too much water remained on the sidelines and near the gate area.
"Can you imagine people trying to get around in this stuff tonight?" Warriner said as he looked down at his boot in a muddy puddle.
"We just didn't want to put anyone in a situation where they might slip and fall," said Eric Hyler, associate principal for Perry-Lecompton High School.
The fire chief said his crew could have done the job, but they ran out of time.
"I would expect to try to do this to a basement," Warriner said. "I never thought we'd be pumping out a football field."