Friday, October 26, 1979. Do you remember where you were on that date? Myself, I was a nerdy college student likely sitting in the university’s science hall watching the Friday night movie. Many of you were gathered in Manchester that evening, watching a football game between the home Greyhounds and the visiting West Union Dragons. Little did you know that it would be 35 years until you could gather in Manchester again to see those two schools pit their varsity football teams against each other.
Last Friday night in Manchester was a special night. Forget the final score. The game itself actually was kind of secondary to everything else, mainly due to an overflow crowd of 800+ people that had Manchester officials dealing with the pleasant problem of parking. The West Union faithful, and there were a bunch of them, came early and filled the bleachers, leaving the Manchester fans to “chill on the hill.” The atmosphere was one you will not find at many local sporting events. Except, before you say it, a local high school basketball game, but it is fall now. Lets’ not get ahead of ourselves.
The rebirth of football in this county in no way demeans any other high school sport. It is just another fantastic opportunity for local student-athletes to showcase their talents. I heard many people say before last Friday, “if only the school board and superintendent would be there to see it.” I agree. They would have had to come away impressed. I did.
The big crowd and atmosphere obviously led to the talk of football being a league sports for the first time in the SHAC. Wouldn’t that be something? It’s not as far away as you think, with Manchester, Fayetteville, and West Union all fielding teams at the high school level and Fairfield, Eastern, and North Adams headed in that direction. It just takes six board approved schools to start a league sport.
How about a Friday night SHAC football broadcast on C103? I’m all for that. Don, Gary, Brett, and some football! That might even compare with Frank, Howard, and Dandy Don in the booth. (You can decide which guy fits which role.)
I know and I have heard about all the obstacles for getting the schools here in the ACOVSD to field varsity football teams that would be officially sanctioned by the OHSAA and board approved. Life is nothing but obstacles and this sports writer would like to see it happen soon, but I am not holding my breath, but with all the enthusiasm for football at the younger levels right now, how can you not at least think about it? A lot of good people have put in a lot of hard work to this point, keep your fingers crossed.
By the way, back to 1979. If you were in the stands that October night watching West Union and Manchester, you weren’t even watching the last county champion football team. That honor went to North Adams who defeated West Union 6-0 in a mud pit to claim the title. Who knows? History may repeat itself someday soon.