By Steve Hartman

(CBS NEWS) – About 250 miles south of Denver, near the edge of isolation, sits the tiny town of Branson, Colorado. Blink and you’ll miss it. But Branson does have a site to see — what many have dubbed “the worst football field in America.”

“No, I don’t dispute that title,” said Brad Doherty, the Branson School athletic director and head dirt-keeper. “We would go out before every game and fill in and collapse as many gopher holes as we could find. It felt like Bill Murray in ‘Caddyshack.'”

The players said the “grass” would stab them. But the Bearcats loved football enough to endure it — until the end of last season, when the other teams in the league said they wouldn’t play on the rocky rectangle of high desert anymore. It was just too dangerous, they said. “It was pretty heart wrenching to hear that people didn’t want to come play on our field,” one player said.

“Football in our community is the one thing that grabs everybody and brings everybody together,” Doherty said.

Which is why Doherty decided to attempt a Hail Mary. He had the players make a video, explaining they needed artificial turf because they didn’t have enough water in Branson to grow real grass. The price of turf had shocked the school board, they said.

Doherty posted the plea on social media, hoping that anyone outside of Branson would see it.

Thanks to the kindness of strangers from across the country, Branson’s bad news Bearcats are back in the ballgame. They ended up raising more than $500,000 and now have the best field in the league.

(credit: CBS)

They just had their first game and won by almost 60 points. Doherty said the bigger victory is the field itself.

“It became something that we show our kids — you can aspire to do great and impossible things,” Doherty said.

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