The home opener for the Pocola High School Indians was a few hours away and, despite a successful test run earlier, the scoreboard didn’t work. Game officials ended up timing the match themselves, but a repair was needed before the next game.

“Friday night is the biggest commercial for our school,” said Steve Rutledge, principal of the Pocola, Oklahoma, high school. “It’s a time for the school to show the community what it does for them.”

Rutledge placed a call to Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative. Mark Fuller, Pocola district manager at the Ozark-based co-op, wasn’t sure how his crews could fix what at first seemed like a hopeless situation: Someone had run over a splicing pedestal with a lawnmower, turning data and power wires into “spaghetti.”

Lineworkers Kyle Metcalf and Matt Lairamore and apprentice Caleb Callahan wound up splicing “every single little wire” and rehousing the works into a waterproof—and lawnmower-proof—pedestal, Fuller said

“I was very proud, not only of our servicemen but also that we are able and encouraged to help the communities we serve,” he said.

As high school football season hits its stride, co-ops are key players in their lineups. In small towns across the country, co-ops are helping schools lower their energy bills, repair electrical problems and raise money to help teams defray costs.

“When we needed them, the co-op was quick to step up and save the day,” said Rutledge.

Take a look at our photo gallery on how co-ops are contributing to high school football season.