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Press Box

By Staff | Oct 19, 2016

Watching local sports can become addicting.

That’s how I feel after taking in 16 different games this past week. Local volleyball has been the big time consumer, but one of my favorite sports. Local high school football is a fan favorite wherever you go and the talk is always about who’s going to win on Friday. This past week to my surprise the Knights lost a big battle to South Harrison in a game that was closer than the score indicated.

Paden City, however, lived up to expectations and secured their second win of the season to open up the homecoming celebration.

On Saturday, fellow sports writer Bruce Crawford and I set out for Union Local high school in hopes of seeing the Paden City Wildcats volleyball team win the OVAC class A title. Although that didn’t happen, the Wildcats gave their best effort and came away with the second place award, something most schools can just dream of. Under Coach Fred King and Assistant Jeff Bowers, the Wildcats volleyball program has several 30 plus win seasons and are regular winners in the OVAC and Mason-Dixon conferences. Congratulations on another trip to the OVAC finals.

After the match, Bruce and I made the trip up to West Liberty where several kids of local interest are attending. The Hilltoppers were also celebrating homecoming and a large crowd was on hand. Although West Liberty lost 28-27 on a field goal by UVW (University Virginia Wise) with 30 seconds left to play, the atmosphere was still great. One highlight was watching the crowning of the homecoming Queen and King. Ex-Paden City honor student and athlete Jay Billiter was crowned King and another Paden City athlete ex-volleyball star and WLU honor student Lynnsie Parsons was chosen to crown the new homecoming queen. Billiter and Parsons are both honor students at WL. Parsons is involved with student government and has spent two seasons as a cheerleader.

Tyler Consolidated’s volleyball team continues to impress while playing the best teams in the state on a regular basis. After winning several big matches this past week, they lost to three powerhouses on Saturday and, as of this writing, stand at 32-12. Not to bad for a Class A school who plays a mostly 3-A Schedule.

Tyler Anderson, Griffin Phillips and Jace Reed showed why the Silver Knights can be dangerous on any given night. Although they dropped a heartbreaker, the Knights put on a show of their own.

Reed cracked the scoreboard four times with passes from sophomore quarterback Phillips and Anderson, who is a treat any time he touches the ball scored twice on long gains. The Knights stand at 4-3 on the season and may have to run the table to make the playoffs. With the big game coming up this Friday at Magnolia the Knights can ill-afford another let down. I am looking for a big win Tyler Consolidated 34-18.

Paden City’s lopsided win over Hannan was just what the doctor ordered as Coach Brent Croasmun had a full team for the first time this season. Playing before what looked to be the largest crowd this season the Wildcats dynamic duo of Aaron Heasley and Hayden Hizer lit the scoreboard up often in route to the 43-20 win.

Also a winner on the night was the Wildcats’ band who, with the addition of several alumni, put on a dazzling performance of the Star Spangled Banner. Not a sour note could be heard as they performed the National Anthem to perfection followed by the Wildcat fight song and Alma Mater.

The biggest winner of all though was Paden City senior Kallie Arnett, who was announced as 2016 homecoming Queen. With a full squad and healthy team, the Wildcats will welcome Bishop Donahue to Berger Field Friday night in hopes of another win to celebrate. The Bishops will be the favorites but I see the Wildcats in an upset 19-13.

I want to take this time to thank all the coaches who put in the effort to build up your players and work so hard to make them better people. Good coaches do that you know! They instill discipline and good work ethics into their teams, always with a word of encouragement, even when things go wrong. Good coaches warn their athletes of the dangers of drugs, drinking and other substance abuse. Sometimes the only time kids hear this is from their coaches. Many kids today are subjected to abusive situations at home where all they hear is filthy language and all they see is drugs and addiction. It is my belief that sports or any other school or church activity can be an outlet for those who are otherwise stuck in drug infested and abusive homes. It makes me proud that we have schools where there are concerned teachers, coaches and school administrators who stand up for what is right.

I am an advocate for eliminating drugs from our neighborhoods and streets and educating our kids about substance abuse including alcohol. There are many in this area who are willing to tackle the drug epidemic, but there are also many who turn a blind eye to the problem and even some who encourage it. We have several areas in our communities that are well documented as drug areas, yet over the course of the past 10 years the problems still exist and has even grown. My main concern is for the elderly who have to live in fear and the youth who are exposed daily.

What a great day it would be if we could turn our clocks back to the sixties and seventies, a time when there were jobs and opportunities for our people. A time when heroin and hard drugs were not the way of life. Sadly, that is not the case.

We will never be able to return to the past, but what we can do is build on a positive future. Talk is cheap, action is the real thing.

At this point in time, I believe God is our only answer, everything else is obsolete. When drug dealers can run wild on our streets and parents let their kids skip school on a regular basis because the parents can’t get out of bed, help is needed.

Examples need to be set and from what I have observed, it only happens when good parents find jobs, work hard and train their children in the way they should grow. Finding a good safe school for our youth is not a hard thing; we have them here locally. We also have good churches with lots of caring people. Good parents will search out those places for their families. Thanks again to the dedicated school administrators and coaches who handle our kids on a daily basis.

Athletes like the ones mentioned above are able to accomplish great things because parents, Sunday School teachers, coaches and school personnel have invested their time and energy to make them better people, they have kept them from the dangers of drugs and substances. They could never have accomplished what they have without your love and support. All children deserve that kind of attention. A great man of God once told me that no one has a chance in this world without Jesus. I didn’t understand him at the time, but today I see what he meant when he talked about persecution. Philipians 4:13 KJV- “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthen me.”