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How about getting behind the program

September 21, 2009
BY MIKE MATHISON, Sports editor

I have loved high school football since the day I stepped into a practice uniform in August of 1974 when I attended St. Augustine High School in San Diego.

I loved playing freshmen football for the Saints and eventually playing varsity football for Granite Hills High School.

My mother used to sit in the stands of the other team because she didn't want to listen to the parents of our team members whine about this or complain about that.

She didn't want to hear how I should have caught that pass or that play should not have been called or how I just hit a terrible punt.

She just wanted to sit with friends and watch her son play football.

My senior year we lost in the county semifinals to a team led by some guy named Marcus Allen.

I loved covering high school football after I graduated.

I still love covering high school football.

I would love it even better if adults would shut their collective yaps and get behind the kids, the coaches and the programs.

But, apparently, that is way too hard to comprehend for some people.

"He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life:?but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction." - Proverbs 13:3

We'll start in Toronto.

Many of you need a reality check because you either just don't get it or, for some reason, hate Brian Connelly so much that nothing else matters to you but ripping he and the program.

From someone who is firmly entrenched in the corners of Connelly and the kids in the program, please, eliminate all the negativity of he and the kids and get behind them for a change.

You have whined about how bad you perceive both are for far too long. Shut it.

You complained that the team has lost 13 straight games, that Connelly and the coaching staff have no idea what they are doing and then, when the team gets a 51-6 win, you complained that the coach ran the score up and did not win with class.

That means you are never satisfied.

No matter what happens, you will not be satisfied.

In fact, are you ever satisfied?

The Red Knights scored 44 points in the first half and seven in the second half and you still say the coaching staff ran up the score.

Back the 42 kids who are playing, which is about 45 percent of the boys in the high school.

Connelly and the staff must be doing something right because the team size doubled in a year.

But, you don't see that.

Kids want to win.

And, right now, these kids want to win, if nothing else, just to shut up all you adults who only have nothing else but negative things to spew.

You stand at the railing and scream vulgar things at the top of your lungs.

You stand at the fence in the end zone and rail on the kids.

By the way, as you do that, kids are hearing you. But, you don't care that 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds have to hear your garbage.

Please, quiet.

And, by the way, when all of this is happening, including yelling things at the kids, Connelly and the coaching staff while they go into the locker room at halftime or at the end of the game, where are those in authority?

You hiding? Shut these people up.

Let's be simple about this, would you like your wife and children hearing about you what you are saying about Connelly? And, apparently, saying so with your full outside voice.

If that answer is yes, you are lying.

Either quit going to Clarke Hinkle Field or actually go there and be positive and see what happens.

While Connelly and the coaching staff are giving it their best to coach up your kids, you are spending the majority of the time telling them they stink, Connelly stinks and the coaching staff stinks.

That's the way to build a program.

That's the way to be a great role model.

That's the way to show kids how adults act.

This team lost 15-14 to Wellsville a few weeks ago. It was 46-16 a year ago.

And one week after dropping a 28-0 contest to Southern Local, and it was 7-0 at halftime, Wellsville beat Southern Local 20-0 on Friday.

The kids are tired of losing, but, more importantly, are tired of hearing you.

Support the program or be quiet.

Let's move on to Wintersville.

Indian Creek fans, it is time to put up or shut up. Many have been all over coach Andrew Connor about this and that.

The Redskins, No. 8 in the Division III, Region 13 standings, host Buckeye Local, No. 2 in those same standings, Friday night.

It is the biggest game in Indian Creek history since last week, a thrilling come-from-behind 34-32 victory at Union Local.

Fans were crying about last year's loss to the Jets, even though that team had far more athleticism than the Redskins.

You whined and could not understand how Indian Creek couldn't play every down like it did in the first half of last year's game against Union Local.

Basically, you were asking those kids to be perfect on each play during each game for 10 weeks.

Nah, that's not too much to ask.

Time to jump on that wagon and get 100 percent behind the kids, the coaching staff and the program.

That has not been done in a really long time. Although, it is my understanding the Creek crowd showed a strong, unified voice last week. Positive, people, positive.

You can stand in the corner, with few friends, and continue to call for Connor's head or you can be a staunch supporter of the program.

Your choice.

How about Richmond?

That was a huge win by your Edison Wildcats and now they have an even bigger game at Cadiz against a 3-1 Harrison Central squad.

How many of you are making the trip to support coach Mike McKenzie, the coaching staff and the kids?

They are 48 minutes away from being 3-2. The last time you could say that was 2002.

In Weirton, the last thing you get to do is complain about a 1-3 start for your Red Riders.

You had no problem supporting a playoff team last year.

And, with six games to go, you should still have no problem supporting the Weir High football program.

It's that simple.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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