Vandals caught on camera damaging artificial turf at South Panola High School’s football stadium

BATESVILLE, Miss. — Even folks who’ve never been to Batesville know one thing about that town: they love their high school football.

Which is why what vandals did to Dunlap Field, where South Panola High School plays football, has people crying foul.

Someone did “donuts” in the middle of the field, causing thousands of dollars in damage to the artificial turf.

But investigators have reason to be optimistic they’ll find who did it.

In Panola County Mississippi, football ranks right up there with “mom, apple pie and old glory.”

One person calling foul is Fay Joiner of Batesville.

“I just think it’s such an awful thing for some to do that,” said Joiner.

She and her friends play dominoes at the Lions Club right across the street from Dunlap Stadium.

Tomie Joiner said the Lions Club property has been vandalized a time or two in the past.

“We have people who does “donuts” out here in our driveway, in our parking lot,” said Tomie Joiner.

Fay Joiner said the senseless act hurts everyone who supports the South Panola Tigers.

“Us being number one so long. And we worked so hard for our football team and for our football field,” said Fay Joiner.

Batesville Police have a pretty good lead on who’s responsible, because security cameras at the stadium recorded two pickup trucks driving onto the field May 30th.

The trucks cruised in wide circles on the artificial turf, leaving a series of black tire tracks.

The vandals apparently entered the stadium through an unlocked gate, did the damage, and came back again with a large group of boys and girls to “admire” the “donuts.”

Police wouldn’t let us look at the video but Tim Wilder, the superintendent of South Panola School District, did see the video.

“I have viewed the video, but I don’t want to go into any details. The police are looking into that and they’re doing an investigation,” said Wilder.

The artificial turf was installed in 2008 and police say there could be thousands of dollars in damage.

Wilder said what vandal’s did goes against everything students are taught concerning values and character.

But Wilder said the actions of a few bad apples won’t dampen the Tigers’ spirits.

“We’ll bounce back from that. We’ll have the field fixed and we’ll be back playing football in the fall, for sure,” said Wilder.

There was so much damage to the field, investigators said the persons responsible will face felony charges.

Police have identified some of the people on the security camera video and are waiting for them to return from vacation.

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