Busy Weekend For Sports Around Wetzel County
It was thrilling to be at the WVSSAC playoffs this year, heading to South Harrison to cover the Valley Lumberjacks against the South Harrison Hawks.
The Hawks were ranked in the top spot for most of the year, until Tyler Consolidated upset them late in the season.
The Lumberjacks, playing in their first WVSSAC Class A playoffs since 2004, knocked off the Silver Knights to get into the playoffs.
The Hawks returned the opening kickoff 89 yards to take a 6-0 lead. The ‘Jacks, behind the arm of Trey Streets, tied things up with a 46-yard bomb to Tucker Cain on their first possession. The atmosphere changed from being very cold to a warmer Florida weather with the Valley touchdown pass.
It got very cold moments later, however, as the Hawks scored four straight touchdowns, before cruising to a 53-12 victory.
One would think that losing the game would be upsetting to most of the Valley faithful, but you must realize that the people at Valley High School are class acts when it comes down to their kids. They show up game after game to cheer their team, no matter what. I commend them ever so much.
After the game, the parents, grandparents and fans congratulated the players on a hard-fought game. The Lumberjacks didn’t let anyone down. They played as hard as they could until the final buzzer, and so did they Valley fans.
It gave me a warm feeling to see so much warmth on a very cold night. The coaches embraced their kids after the game and told them how proud of them they were, and they meant every word.
To me it wasn’t just another game, it was only the beginning, as I went to Magnolia for its first playoff appearance under head coach Josh Sims. It was just as cold at Bill Stewart Memorial Stadium on Alumni Field Saturday. The Blue Eagles sidelines, along with a packed Magnolia side bleachers, were filled to the brim with fans of all ages.
With Magnolia as the No. 1 seed heading into the playoffs, the Eagles had home field advantage throughout the playoffs until the Super Six finale.
The Eagles went right to work as they have done all season, taking a 40-0 lead at the break, and one would think the Blue Eagle fans would go home to get warm, but they didn’t. They, like the Valley fans, are also class acts, according to me, with the exception to a minor few at both schools.
You would think that this was for the title, as the boys in Blue and Gold were hitting as hard as they did in the first game of the season. However, a Van player was injuried and our New Martinsville ambulance was Johnny-on-the-spot and got the injured boy out as fast as possible.
The cheering fans from both sides were silent and you could here the prayers going out from both sides of the field. It also gave me such pride to know there were still people out there that were just as concerned for the boy as his parents. Players from both sides were on their knees praying for the safety of the boy. I haven’t heard anything yet on the boy’s condition, but as soon as I find out I’ll let the readers know on our Wetzel Chronicle Facebook page.
I had to miss the Magnolia girls’ bid for a state volleyball crown in Charleston because of covering a pair of football playoff games. I had to have my buddy, Ed Parsons, cover the games. He did just that as it was his first state volleyball championship to cover. He stated the Charleston Civic Center people were as friendly as the people back home.
After winning in straight sets in their opener against Greater Beckley Christian, the Blue Eagles took defending state champion Williamstown to five sets to win 15-11 in the tie-breaker for the opportunity to play Wirt County in the championship on Saturday. The Blue Eagles were fearless against Wirt which got to the championship by beating Tyler Consolidated in the semifinals. They won the opening set, 16-25, but fell 25-22 in the second set. The Eagles returned the favor by beating Wirt by the same score in the third set. Magnolia led 24-15 in the fourth set and was one point from winning. However, Wirt had other plans and went on to win, 26-24, setting up an exciting fifth set.
Wirt took a commanding 13-5 fifth-set lead in a 15 point tie-breaking finale. However, the Eagles once again came from behind to take a 14-13 lead with one point to go. The Tigers, however, won back the serve to knot things up, before winning 16-14. It was hard to fathom. To be so close and not win the sate title. But in Magnolia Head Coach Pam Chapman eyes, the girls did their very best and left everything on the floor.
So my priorities were a little different than most. I had the opportunity to cover two fine football clubs in their first round of WVSSAC Class A Playoffs other than missing my first state volleyball action.
Priorities are something we all must choose. If I would have had to do it all over, I would still do the same. I am a fan of all sports, not just football.
But on this weekend, I chose two games of football over three outstanding volleyball matches. In life, we must do the same things, we should put church first, family second and everything else afterwards. However, when push comes to shove, I hope we all will still be concerned over the Van player before anything else.