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What a difference a year makes

Last updated: September 03. 2014 10:06AM - 381 Views
By Ron Gregory ronjgregory@gmail.com



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Last year, Scott Skyhawk football fans were demoralized from their team’s disappointing second half at Falling Rock as they fell to Cardinal Conference rival Herbert Hoover.


This season, things were reversed in Madison Friday night. Falling behind by two touchdowns, the home favorites rallied in the second half to post a one-point win, 28-27.


That was a huge shot in the arm for the Hawks of Coach Shane Griffith. Perhaps the win will make the difference in a playoff season and a losing one. While late-season games always take on an air of added importance, the early ones count just as much in the rankings as later games.


Griffith could barely contain his enthusiasm Friday evening and let it spill over in the jubilant locker room after the game. There was a new swagger to the Scott players as they basked in their hard-earned victory.


The difference in the contest may well have some smart coaching by Griffith and his staff in the halftime locker room. There, they changed their defensive set, adding a lineman, and that may have made all the difference. Hoover runners, who had seemed to walk into openings in the first half, simply couldn’t find any holes in the second half defense.


Credit Griffith, then, with having a talented team that is well-coached. One could see a return of the old Black and Gold offense Friday as well. That’s a good sign for everyone wanting to see another playoff run by the Skyhawks.


Meanwhile, it was so humid Friday evening it could well have been called the “evening of cramps.” After nearly every down, a player either sat in pain on the field or on the sideline. Some took several minutes to recover.


Versatile running back Garrett Roberts was carted from the field to a nearby ambulance early in the game. He was said to be suffering from heat-related symptoms. But the Lincoln Countian did return to the sidelines after a few minutes off the field.


Unlike the old days, when coaches discouraged water availability and hydration in the heat, today’s coaching staffs have read too many horror stories about young athletes to take a chance on life-threatening conditions.


Which reminds me of legendary Duval/Guyan Valley Coach Blaine Wilkerson’s old story about practices when he went to Duval. “I’d slide into the creek beside the practice field sometimes just to get a drink of water,” he laughed.


On the other hand, it was not such a great night for the other two Boone County teams. With all playing at home, Sherman and Van both suffered losses.


One game does not a season make for either the winners or the losers, so hopefully neither the Tide nor the Bulldogs will be too demoralized with the losses.


Van, with that tremendous home game schedule, has every opportunity to bounce back and Sherman was meeting a perennial power in their defeat. I still expect both to have respectable seasons.


It was halftime at Madison when one of my loyal readers insisted that I had “called this one wrong.” I mentioned my 96.6 percent accuracy rate and reminded him there IS a second half. Thank goodness, the Skyhawks came through.


Among those in attendance at the Madison game were State Senator Art Kirkendoll, his son Brian and statehouse lobbyist supreme Jason Webb. Webb has two nephews playing and brought his family with him to watch them play. Living in Cross Lanes, Webb left at the half to get the little ones home for bedtime.


Kirkendoll was looking tanned, rested and ready after last week’s legislative interim committee meetings in Bridgeport.


Because of the Labor Day holiday, our deadlines have resulted in me writing this before heading off to Oxford, Ohio for the Marshall-Miami game. If the Herd and Coach Doc Holliday could possibly run the table this regular season, a major bowl invitation would be waiting at the end of the rainbow.


I am still skeptical of the coach’s in-game performances. There is no doubt he is one of the world’s best recruiters and has brought respectability back to Marshall football. He is a great speaker and an enthusiastic proponent of MU. I just fear the team will lose to one of the Mid-American Conference teams and ruin the entire season.


If they do not, a top ten ranking and bowl trip is definitely on the horizon for the Thundering Herd.


The University of Southern Pennsylvania School at Morgantown (US-PMS), meanwhile, will continue to sink slowly in the west – or north.


Your comments, game results and story ideas are always welcome. Use my email address or call my cell, 304-533-5185.


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