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Wildcats rewarded for not quitting

October 15, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

Coaches say it all the time that their teams have to value possession of the ball.

That's the same whether it's football, basketball, baseball or soccer.

It is rare when a team can overcome losing the turnover battle and win.

No other team knows that more, this year, than the Edison Wildcats.

Four weeks after handing Union Local six possessions in a 13-12 loss to the one-win Jets, the Wildcats received seven gifts in Friday night's 35-22 win at Martins Ferry.

But, that win wasn't all about the turnovers.

That win was set up the week before when I watched head coach Mike McKenzie, during the third quarter of the loss to undefeated St. Clairsville, look at one of his senior players and say, "You ready to quit?"

Before McKenzie could spit out the "t" sound, the player said, "No sir."

That's the kind of leadership you want out of a team that is having a season much worse than they imagined.

That's the kind of leadership you want out of a team that has gone through their fare share of adversity, most of it last week.

That's the kind of leadership you want out of a team that is 20-something players down from the numbers in the program a year ago for various reasons and, yes, pay-to-participate is one of those reasons.

That's the kind of leadership you want out of any or your players.

McKenzie got all that and more Friday night.

He got all that and more during the previous Friday night.

I guarantee you that win at Martins Ferry caught the eye of Bellaire head coach Jose Davis and Indian Creek coach Andrew Connor - the Wildcats' last two opponents.

Sometimes a win is more than a win.

This was one of them.

But, if you finish the season with pads in tact, then you have to look in the mirror and be proud of how you and your teammates finished the season.

Since they are the only winless football team in our area, I wonder how many football players at Weir High are roaming through the halls instead of wearing pads during the week and on Friday nights?

Players are either part of the solution or you say nothing about the team.

It sure isn't easy for the current players and coaching staff each and every week. But, playing and coaching is what they signed up for and, when you sign up for something, you see it through.

I have been on the sidelines quite often and it's not as if the coaching staff is being silent. They are up, yelling, teaching and coaching. They kick the kids in the rear and pat them on the back.

This is a good coaching staff.

Although the hole is too deep to see the sun right now, the playing of all these freshmen and sophomores will pay dividends next year and the year after.

And, I guarantee you, that sophomore quarterback William Larch would much rather be in pads getting hit than on the sidelines in street clothes.

Just curious if enough voters in the Edison and Indian Creek school districts will step up and help the future generation of kids going through those school systems?

I really hope no one was surprised by the behavior of the Kansas City Chiefs fans in last week's loss at home when quarterback Matt Casells was injured.

If you were, just hang around any high school or youth sporting event and you'll hear just about the same thing - not when an athlete gets injured, but the stupid things that people say.

At what point in time when you are outside of a high school stadium do you stop when the national anthem is played? From what I have seen, apparently you have to actually be inside the stadium to stand with respect and shut up because the sound of the national anthem actually stops at the fence.

So, it appears that Tony LaRussa and Albert Pujols were overrated?

Five of the nine baseball teams whose payroll is over $100 million made the playoffs, while one of the 10 teams whose payroll is under $80 million made the playoffs.

I understand the frustration of the Pirates fans, but, in reality, what were the Pirates going to give up for that one big bat at the end of the season?

The Dodgers added $252 million and missed the playoffs and the Angles' team payroll is at just under $155 million and they missed the playoffs.

The Angels are paying Vernon Wells just over $24 million.

The Dodgers are paying Ted Lilly about $11.6 million.

Not a Yankees fan at all, but really going to miss Derek Jeter in the playoffs.

Great hire by the Cleveland Indians to get Terry Francona.

I still think Clint Hurdle is great for the Pirates.

I still appreciate the sweet sound of the NHL lockout.

Why can't people just sing or play a respectful version of the national anthem?

I hate watching high school soccer players flop and I really, really don't like it when they are rewarded for their acts by the officials.

It's too bad West Virginia's defense is really that bad.

How long before Alameda Ta'amu is no longer in a Steelers uniform?

Buckeye Local High School is looking for a boys varsity baseball coach again. Obviously, telling George Laase that he was no longer wanted at his alma mater was a great decision.

Laase was named the summer coach of the Staunton Braves.

But, not good enough ... never mind.

(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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