CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Our Honda Athlete of the Week involves three local football teams who weren’t able to finish their season in the playoffs due to their status on the color coded map.
This wasn’t a normal football season by any means. Teams could play one week then their season was on the line the next week.
Bridgeport, Robert C. Byrd and Ritchie County were all still in the playoff picture when their games were canceled because of being red or orange on the map.
Players on each of these teams were devastated and they all had similar reactions when they heard the news that their seasons were over.
“Well I was really hoping that somebody would be able to turn something around and they would change the rules because there was no state championship game at all so I was hoping they might change something up so that we would be able to play. Like we all get tested and if we were negative we would be able to play but that didn’t happen. It was hard to accept it for a while but then I finally came to there was nothing I could do about it,” Dakota Wayne, a senior on the Ritchie County football team, said.
“Our reaction was the same as probably every other team that had this happen this season. You know, there’s no closure for anybody that’s had their season canceled, really no closure at all. And I think that just as athletes, you know the competitiveness and how much we love to compete, I think that’s what we need is that closure and it’s hard that it’s not in any of our controls we can’t do anything about it. So I mean it sucks but it is what it is,” Tommy Hawkins, a senior on the RCB football team, said.
“The first reaction was basically it sucked that moment. But then later on you looked at it like the same thing Happened to Martinsburg, it happened to all of these other teams so it wasn’t just us so it didn’t feel as bad later on but the first initial reaction, you just felt horrible,” Devin Hill, a senior on the Bridgeport football team, said.
Ritchie County beat Greenbrier West in the state quarterfinal game that ended up propelling them right to the Class Single-A state championship game, for the first time in school history.
A similar story for Robert C. Byrd as the Eagles took down Elkins to advance to the Class Double-A state semifinal game where they were supposed to take on Oak Glen. Both teams were knocked out of that game due to the map. If they would have won that game they would have gone to the super six for the first time in school history.
Bridgeport, the defending Double-A state champions, were looking to shock Class Triple-A in their first season in the class as they beat Washington to advance to the state semifinal where they were supposed to see Martinsburg. Of course that game was also canceled due to the map.
All three of these teams lost the opportunity to battle for a state championship.
But seniors from those schools all found a silver lining regardless of the way their seasons ended.
“The whole team wanted to come in and prove a lot. I know us seniors wanted to go out with a bang, didn’t really get that shot. We were all just saying how proud we were of everybody. I was proud of the whole team just anybody who contributed. Everybody on the line really they really stepped up their game this year. I was proud,” Hill said.
“I’ve built one of my favorite bonds and relationships through football. I think that’s one thing that we did as a whole is we came together, we played all of the games we played together as a team all those games no selfishness everyone coming together and I truly think we all loved it. It was probably the biggest accomplishment, to me, just coming together as a family,” Hawkins said.
“Bringing the community back together. Because there for a while, Ritchie County football was terrible. Then coach Haught came in and he was able to change things around and you could just see more fans and on Facebook just more supporters and making the whole state notice us. Because no one knew who Ritchie County was in football until the past couple of years,” Wayne said.
So with everything these athletes have been through this season, they can all say they’ve left everything on the field.