Ron Gregory

October 1, 2013

One thing is for certain: the Scott Skyhawk football team came out to prove something the past Friday evening against Poca. In a prime Cardinal Conference contest, the home team simply put a licking on the Dots before a smallish crowd at Scott Field.

Both teams came into the contest desperately needing a victory to remain in the Class AA playoff hunt. At 1-3, each team had a reason to panic and consider that a loss might well be the end of any post-season aspirations.

Fortunately for local fans, it was not Scott that folded tent Friday evening. The Hawks, playing with a back-up quarterback at the helm, simply dismantled the Dots.

Senior play-caller Cody Brown was injured and unable to take the snaps for the Hawks. Still, it was one of the best offensive performances of the season as Scott returned to its ground-it-out-on-the-ground game.

With a new emphasis on passing earlier in the year, the Hawks had simply not looked like a Shane Griffith-coached team. And the switch in philosophy apparently did nothing to add to marks in the win column for 2013.

So, Griffith said he, the players and coaches had some discussions and decided it was time to return to “old-time Scott football.”

The result was the lopsided win over Poca and a record of 2-3 that is much more conducive to a playoff chase than 1-4. In fact, it would likely take something of a miracle for Poca to make the Double A field this time around.

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I’m not suggesting, of course, that Poca sat down for Friday’s game or that they will chuck it in for the season because of the loss. Bob Lemley is a veteran coach who will keep his charges fighting until the final down. But the stress of looking at staying at home in November and December has to be intimidating.

There is no doubt Griffith and his staff were not relishing a way to salvage a season if they lost to Poca the past week. Everyone from the seniors on down knew it was make-it-or-break-it time in Madison.

Thank goodness, they “made” it.

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Watching my oldest grandson, Jordan, on the sidelines for Guyan in the Boone-Lincoln Midget Football League, I was once again reminded of my firm belief that six-years-old is much too young for children to be suiting up for combat. On the other hand, there was little danger of Jordan being injured since he was only inserted into the game for one play on the afternoon.

While this is certainly not a personal crusade (I really don’t care if my grandsons ever play midget football), I will reiterate my long-held belief that ALL players on youth sports team should have a reasonable opportunity to participate.

After all, every child devotes a major part of time to practices and games while parents do the same. It is unfair for children of this age group to be deprived of a playing opportunity simply because the testosterone level of the coaches makes them feel as if they’re playing for the Super Bowl title.

I have mentioned many times before that nobody will even remember next year who won the midget title this year, except for coaches, administrators and a limited few players. This is not life-or-death, folks.

If a team loses a game at any level, it is not the end of the world. At this level, it is not even the end of the day.

Yet coaches keep children on the bench until 20 seconds remain in the contest for some reason. Suffice it to say that in the game Jordan played, he could not have fouled up enough in TEN MINUTES to cost his team the game, if that is the only criteria.

Winning or losing may be a big deal to some coaches who perhaps have Napoleon-syndrome, but it is not all that important to anyone else.

Jordan did not complain at all about his playing time. He’s six-years-old and really doesn’t realize how he was treated. But, somewhere, there must be somebody keeping a tally of how youth coaches mishandle their youngsters. That scoreboard will not look very positive.

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I favor flag football, as has been started in Boone County, over midget league action anyway. Partly because the risk of permanently injuring a child in a flag game is less than in midgets, I would suggest that every parent place his or her youngster in the flag program.

Somehow, though, it is possible to convince parents, grandparents and others that there is some real importance to midget football championships. I have stood and listened to otherwise sane grandmothers exhort their grandson to “kill number 22.” Such a grand lesson to be learned by a six-year-old.

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When I was the City of Charleston’s Parks and Recreation Director I was constantly besieged by soccer parents and players for more field space. One day, a Charleston Gazette reporter heard me bemoaning the fact that soccer was ever invented.

“What would you do if your own son came home and said he wanted to play soccer?” the reporter asked.

“Put him in counseling immediately,” I responded.

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That quote did not increase my popularity in the soccer community.

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All the friendly folks from Lincoln County who get so upset at my comments about Lincoln County High School should suggest that maybe the team should win a game somewhere to shut me up.

One of the best ever at taking newspaper rhetoric and firing up his team was David Kiser, coach at the former Duval High School at Griffithsville.

On more times than one, I arrived at the Duval fieldhouse to see my column prominently pasted on the wall. Kiser also occasionally gave a fiery speech about me with me standing right in the dressing room. On more than one occasions, the Duval team proved me wrong.

Not so with Lincoln County. When 50-0 losses follow one after the other, it is difficult to refute the sports columnist who says you have arguably the worst team in the state. And Head Coach “Oil Derrick” Christian can rant and rave all he wants, he needs to show some of that enthusiasm in coaching these boys to a win sometime.

Standing up on the top row of the bleacher and inviting me up for a whipping, as some LCHS fans do, doesn’t do a whole lot to prove the football team is a winner.

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And, again, for those who want to constantly point out to me that there are Duval area students at LCHS, I would note again that the really good ones, like the Roberts boys, end up at South Charleston, George Washington or Scott. They don’t ride to Hamlin to be poorly coached.

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Softball pitcher supreme Andrea Williamson has been hospitalized in Charleston but is said to be recuperating at this time. Williamson, arguably the best softball pitcher the state ever produced, just completed her first season of pro ball by being named Rookie of the Year.

At the hospital, she was attended by her loving family and numerous local friends and supporters.

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It was fitting, perhaps, that the Scott back-up quarterback, Bo Jeffrey, put on an outstanding rushing performance himself. Although Brown was definitely missed, Jeffrey appeared perhaps to lead the Hawks back into their ground game of old.

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Comments, story ideas or rumors are welcome. Use the email address listed or call me at 304-533-5185.