Ever hear of an athletic program turning down a victory?
You have now.
Last Friday night, Paden City High School's football team made the three-hour trek to Van for the season-opening football game for two of the state's smallest Class A schools to field football teams. (Paden City is the smallest public school with a football program while Van is the third smallest).
With the visiting Wildcats leading 14-8 with 10:48 to play in the third quarter, a power failure caused the stadium lights to go out and the game was unable to be resumed.
On Monday, officials at the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission said there were two options available to the participating schools. First, because more than half of the game had been completed, the result at the time could be made official. Or, if the two schools agreed and could work it out, the game could be resumed.
Paden City Athletics Director Fred King, after consulting with Principal Jay Salva and football coach Brent Croasmun, chose the latter option.
As a result, the Wildcats and Bulldogs will finish their contest at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 5, at Ripley High School.
"You do what is right,'' said King, who always has been a class act. "Not what is convenient. You don't do what is best for yourself, you do what is best for mankind.''
King noted that only 1 minute and 12 seconds of the second half had been played, that Paden City was leading at the time by just six points and that Van already was driving for what may become the game-tying or go-ahead touchdown.
It was a highly-competitive, evenly-matched contest, the type of game in which players enjoy competing and fans enjoy watching.
"We are in this business for the kids,'' King said. "We are doing what we need to do.''
Yes, King knows he is adding an additional expense to his athletic budget by creating another bus trip, but that wasn't part of his consideration.
I'm sure there will be some in Paden City who will criticize this call.
But Paden City not only is right, it is committing one of the greatest acts of sportsmanship I've ever witnessed.
As King pointed out, it wasn't Van's fault the lights went out. The shoe could well have been on the other foot. Imagine how the coaches, players and community would have felt when informed the game was over.
I once had a veteran coach and athletics director who is respected statewide tell me that once a game starts it is your responsibility not only to look out for the benefit of your players, but also for the players on the other team. That's what PC is doing.
It is being fair to the young men on both squads.
This isn't surprising. Every dealing myself and the sports department members have had over the years with Paden City has been first-class.
As they say in Texas, "Good on you, Fred King.''
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org