My wife and I traveled to Cincinnati over the weekend to see our grandson, Leo, participate in the 12th Annual Turkey Bowl Flag Football Festival. This neat event features kids ages 4-14 competing in flag football. Leo has been playing in this league for several years now, and we try to see a few games throughout the season. The State of Ohio has done a good job in establishing this nonprofit youth organization. If you follow any of my youth sports columns, you know I’m a big believer. This league has over 8,000 youth participants and 1,600 volunteers with children and adults from Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and northern Kentucky. The highlight of the day was the Leoás team traveling to Paul Brown Stadium and having the chance to play on grass in a professional arena. Hats off to the league who worked hard to make sure every team had a chance to play in the room. What a memory for these children! They didn’t care, it was 30 degrees and it was raining snow. All they knew was that they were having fun in a place that most of us only see on TV.
Tyler Consolidated fell to Cameron in the first round of the state playoffs 20-6. The game was closer than the scoreline reflected as Tyler was in the game until the end. That’s when Cameron, with less than 20 seconds left in the game, and taking a knee would have ended it, decided to throw a 20-yard touchdown pass, in my opinion, for the to rub. Although it is perfectly within their rights to do so, he shows little class among his rivals. Be careful what you ask because at some point the shoe will be on the other foot. Remember what they say about returns on investment, and you better be prepared to go with whatever you come up with.
The only team in the region still standing is River. The 12-1 Drivers will continue their quest after overcoming the Caldwell Redskins last Saturday in a lopsided 42-6 victory. This will only be the 4th River team to reach the regional final.
I spoke to Coach Flannery about the drivers race so far. He was especially proud of his kids’ composure during the playoffs. “They rose to the challenge with the way they played. But most importantly showed character in the way they acted,” said the veteran coach.
The road gets tougher for River as they take the next step to a championship when they face off against what is cited as one of Ohio State’s best traditional playoff teams, Newark Catholic, with a 10-1 record on Saturday. . By the time we go to press, this game will be on the books and we’ll know if Coach Flannery’s pilots are still on the hunt.
WVU football fans were able to celebrate the first victory over Oklahoma since joining the conference over a decade ago, but I was surprised that fans stormed the field at the end of the game. With our record of 4-6, rushing onto the court during such a difficult season only accentuates the fact that our younger fans don’t have much experience to win at a higher level. Hopefully we can fix this fact in the future.
Oklahoma, on the other hand, is going through some of the same disappointments we had to endure during this year’s WVU football roller coaster season. Some of the comments from Oklahoma fans on social media referred to the Sooners football program hitting rock bottom after the loss. Most of the derogatory remarks made about the Mountaineers revolved around our last place in the Big 12. Yes, we were in last place, but now that spot belongs to the Sooners. As Neal Brown pointed out in his press conference, “Yes, Oklahoma, we won the game!”
WVU begins a nationwide search for a new athletic director after parting ways with Shane Lyons. President Gordon Gee plans to appoint a new AD soon. In the short term, Rob Alsop, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, is the interim DA. This can only mean that Neil Brown could be next, as any new AD will want his own man in charge of the football program.
As I close this press box, I am reminded that soon families will be traveling far and wide to be together for the holiday weekend, and now is the perfect time to send a Thanksgiving greeting to our readers. I would like to express our sincere gratitude for your trust and loyalty to Star News and Wetzel Chronicle. Here at the office, we are so grateful and wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving Day.