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Here we go again

December 12, 2011
Weirton Daily Times

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." - Philippians 4:11

Unless something off the wall happens, the Hancock County Board of Education will accept the resignation of Weir High football coach Jason Kekseo tonight at its meeting and the carousel of football coaches for the Red Riders will be put in motion again.

This folks, has to stop.

Now.

Once the first-year coach officially steps down, Weir High will be seeking its fifth coach in the last eight years.

That is a zero chance of having a successful program on a yearly basis.

All the negativity has to stop. It's a cancer, and it's killing the program.

And, I am talking about the negativity from the adults - not the kids.

The adults wanted Tony Filberto out ... and Eric Meek ... and Tom Taylor ... and now Kekseo.

Congratulations.

Missions accomplished.

What adults do not understand is that while you whine about your son not getting enough carries or passes or playing time eight years ago, five years ago, two years ago, this year or in three years, your son eventually graduates and moves on with his life.

That coach is there to coach the next generation of kids whose parents will sit in the stands and complain about everything under the lights.

The bad part is this is not about a 1-9 season.

Kekseo came into a program that finished the 2010 season with about two dozen players in uniform. The Red Riders finished the 2011 year with about two dozen players in uniform.

Who wants to step into the high-speed blender of football coaches?

Does any adult in the Weirton community actually want to step on the bandwagon and help this program be something other than a complete after-thought?

I am talking about being a positive influence for the kids and the program.

Until all the negative energy goes away, and that is going to take a really large fumigation, this program has a long way to go.

This place needs stability and not just for the next 36 months - how about the next 10 years.

I feel bad for the players because they are the ones spilling their guts in the summer, during two-a-days and on the field. They are the ones who are getting the short end here.

It seems like they are continually facing third-and-27 and being successful in those situations is rare.

The seniors-to-be will now be under their third coach in four years.

New coach. New system. New coaching staff. New this. New that.

Yep, they're thrilled to start all over - again.

The best and worst in sports collided, so to speak, Saturday.

The best Saturday was the annual Army-Navy game and the speech by Robert Griffin III after winning the Heisman Trophy.

The worst was the brawl that ended the Xavier-Cincinnati men's college basketball game 9.4 seconds early with Xavier winning 76-53.

There is not a more pure college football game each season than when Army and Navy get together at the end of the season.

It's tradition - not along the lines of the Bedlam Game, the Apple Cup, the Border War, the Egg Bowl, Farmageddon or The Game - and it's pure in competitiveness and passion.

There are no players on scholarship and all, after concluding their playing days, will serve our country in various capacities.

In fact, Navy's Alexander Teich will soon be on his way to Navy SEAL training, something that is about 900 million times harder than anything he has done on the football field.

Saturday's 112th edition of the contest was won by Navy, 27-20, for the 10th year in a row, taking a 56-49-7 lead in the series.

Here is Griffin's speech:

"Now that my socks are out there, I got nothing to lose, right? This moment right here, it's unbelievably believable. It's unbelievable because in the moment, we're all amazed when great things happen. It's believable because great don't happen without hard work. The great coach Art Briles always says great things only come with great effort, and we've certainly worked for this.

"That's right, everybody associated with Baylor University has a reason to celebrate tonight. To my teammates, I'd like to say thank you. As we say, the hotter the heat, the harder the steel. No pressure, no diamonds. We compete, we win. We are Baylor. Baylor we are, Baylor we'll always be, but it's up to us to define what that means, and this Heisman Trophy is only the beginning of that process.

"To Baylor nation, I say this is a forever kind of moment, and may we be blessed to have many more like it in the future. God always has a plan, and it's our job to fulfill it, and in this moment we have.

"To my dad and my mom, my fiancee, my sisters, my beautiful niece, to my family, to my friends, to my teammates, to coach Briles and the coaching staff, to the Baylor administration and Ken Starr, the city of Copperas Cove and the city of Waco, and all of Baylor nation I say thank you for all your loving support, through the tough times like knee surgeries and glorious moments like this one.

"Thank you to the Heisman Trophy Trust and all the Heisman Trophy winners who've given me a chance to be a part of this family.

"Last but not least, I want to thank God for giving me all these great people to be in my life. Thank you."

That is a picture of humble.

I am now a fan.

It was rather obvious Saturday that members of the Xavier and Cincinnati men's basketball teams are not content with being members of a college basketball program, getting scholarships to do so. I am not saying they are getting a free education, but I bet it is really close.

I understand about sports and emotions.

What I don't understand is why people just can't play the game.

Any game.

Shut up and play hard.

But, the brawl that ended that game never should have happened.

Players were chippy the whole game and Xavier coach Chris Mack didn't help the situation when he didn't take his starters out of a 20-point game with four or five minutes left in the game.

Tu Holloway couldn't keep his mouth shut and that started the fight, along with comments from Mark Lyons.

Cincinnati's Yancy Gates is out six games for his sucker punch that landed below the left eye of Xavier's Kenny Frease.

Cheikh Mbodj and Octavius Ellis were handed six-game suspensions and Ge'Lawn Guyn was suspended for one game. All are Bearcats.

Xavier suspended Holloway for one game, Lyons for two, and Dez Wells and Landen Amos for four games each.

The suspensions were, at best, weak.

Gates should be off the team and Mbodj, who stomped on Frease, should sit indefinitely. Holloway and Lyons should have received eight games for not keeping their mouths shut.

"Coach Mack always reminds me, 'You're a leader of this team. The young guys are going to do what you're going to do,'" Holloway said. "If I would've never talked to (UC's) bench or if I wouldn't have said anything to their players, maybe Dez Wells wouldn't be suspended four games.

"The result of what I did, I kind of brought him down, I brought Mark Lyons down, I brought the rest of my teammates down because of what I did out there on the floor."

"The ending embarrasses me," Mack said. "It's really difficult to explain to my 5- and 6-year old girls why a fight ensued at the end of the game. Got a lot of e-mails last might from a lot of other parents having to explain to their 8- or 9-year-old at the game what ensued.

"I'd like to apologize for not doing a better job. I should've called a timeout. I should've taken my starters off the floor. I made a mistake. I believed at the time in what I was doing. I felt like calling a timeout for our seniors to walk off the court in celebration would only antagonize the situation.

"I was hoping time would expire. I made the wrong decision."

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com)

 
 

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