Editor's note: Steve Politi is a sports columnist for The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @StevePoliti
By Steve Politi, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Football can't do much to help the devastated communities along the Jersey Shore after Hurricane Sandy. But this is what residents in dozens of towns are discovering this month: Football players can.
From Union Beach to Seaside Heights, from Belmar to Bayville, local high school teams are aiding the recovery effort with supplies, with support, and sometimes, with strength.
That was the scene in Point Pleasant Beach last weekend. More than a dozen members of the town's undefeated high school team went door to door helping their neighbors. They carried out flood-ravaged debris to the curb, from couches to dressers to dining room furniture, and when they finished one house they would walk as a group to the next and start again.
"I said to the kids when I texted them (to organize the cleanup), the community has been so behind us, this is an opportunity for us, in a way, to say thank you," said John Wagner, the team's head coach.
Many of the players had done the same thing at their own homes earlier in the week. Others were displaced, living in hotels or shelters, not sure where their families would settle long-term.
This is the case up and down the Jersey Shore, the epicenter of the devastation from the unprecedented storm. The images on television days after, from the roller coaster from the Seaside boardwalk sitting in the ocean to the boats piled up like toys on the streets, do not begin to sum up the damage.
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