Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Thursday, October 10, 2013
William Fleming's football team played Northside last Friday and the Colonels really didn't have a prayer.
But they gave me one anyway.
I have prostate cancer.
I've told many people about it since I received my diagnosis, and I genuinely appreciate every bit of help I've received from family, friends, co-workers, doctors, clergy and other well-wishers.
One of the first people I informed was first-year Fleming football coach Bobby Martin.
We talked about my situation last month when I was over at Fleming doing a feature story on Warren Craft, the basketball and track star who had just come out for varsity football for the first time.
Friday night was the first time I'd been back to Fleming since that day.
It was not a great evening for the Colonels.
Fleming played a close first half against neighborhood rival Northside before the Vikings stepped on the gas in the second-half and rolled to a 48-14 win.
It was Fleming's third straight loss after a 2-0 start.
After the game, after Martin had a lengthy talk with his team, and after I did my postgame interview with the coach in a corner of the Colonels' locker room, he asked me a question.
"How are you doing with that other thing?" he said. "OK, I'd like to do something right now if you don't mind."
So he gathered his players - some of whom were still getting dressed and licking their physical and emotional wounds - and told them he needed their help.
No, he told them someone else needed their help.
With that, Martin instructed these teen-agers to form a tight circle with me in the middle.
The kids closest to me laid hands on my shoulders. Those in back reached in.
"Touch somebody," Martin shouted.
Then the coach said a prayer.
I was moved by the words, but I was struck more by what Fleming's players did after the "Amen."
These kids, who could have turned and headed out into the Roanoke night, walked over one-by-one and gave me a handshake and a chest-bump hug.
WILLIAM FLEMING 21, Staunton River 13. Have these schools ever played each other? This is the first time both of them have been in the Blue Ridge District.
SALEM 28, Christiansburg 24. How's this for a rivalry? Salem and Christiansburg have split their last six games with each other.
PATRICK HENRY 23, Harrisonburg 6. Waynesboro broke a 20-game losing streak at Harrisonburg's expense last week.
NORTHSIDE 45, Alleghany 14. Northside will have to play some pass defense for one of the few times this year.
LORD BOTETOURT 31, Rockbridge County 13. Four of Botetourt's 2013 wins have been by a combined score of 195-0.
HIDDEN VALLEY 20, Blacksburg 10. Blacksburg is 13th in Group 3A West points, while Hidden Valley is 15th. This could have playoff implications.
CAVE SPRING 24, Carroll County 14. Cave Spring is hanging on to the No. 16 Group 3A West playoff spot.
ATLANTIC SHORES CHRISTIAN 37, North Cross 29. The Raiders play at home for just the second time this season.
PULASKI COUNTY 21, Franklin County 20. Pulaski led the charge to keep Franklin County out of the River Ridge District. Now the Cougars are playing in Rocky Mount.
GILES 44, Auburn 14. Auburn opened the season at Narrows and returns to Giles County with a trip to Pearisburg.
FORT CHISWELL 35, Galax 32. This is the second of four consecutive road games for unbeaten Fort Chiswell.
GLENVAR 45, Eastern Montgomery 22. These two teams combined for 87 points in last year's Three Rivers opener.
PARRY McCLUER 27, James River 21. Parry McCluer is looking for its first victory over James River since 2005.
RADFORD 25, Floyd County 18. Radford probably needs to win three of its last five games to make the Group 1A playoffs so this one is big.
MAGNA VISTA 30. Martinsville 15. There is no Piedmont title race any longer, but neither of these teams has lost a district game yet.
GRAYSON COUNTY 33, Graham 32. Graham is 0-3 against Grayson during the coaching tenure in Bluefield of former Salem player Mike Williams.
COVINGTON 38, Craig County 7. Covington occupies the No. 4 spot in the Group 1A West playoff standings.
AMHERST COUNTY 34, Jefferson Forest 27. If the 1-4 Lancers have designs on a Group 4A West playoff berth, they'd better get started here.
BASSETT 28, Halifax County 21. Whatever happened to former Halifax County and Virginia Tech running back Don Testerman?
ROANOKE CATHOLIC 33, Quantico 21. Quantico High School is run by the Defense Department. Evidently the government shutdown is not preventing football games.
GEORGE WASHINGTON 63, Patrick County 6. GW and Eastern View are the only two remaining unbeaten teams in Group 4A North.
GEORGE WYTHE 42, Northwood 8. The GW in Wytheville has won 36 consecutive Hogoheegee District games.
CHILHOWIE 30, Rural Retreat 22. President Obama has given his thoughts about the Redskins. Will he say anything about the Warriors and the Indians.
NARROWS 26, Bland County 7. A third victory might give Narrows postseason hopes, but the Green Wave would have to find a way to get a fourth.
Last week: 13-10 .565
Overall: 120-37 .764
Weather JournalBreather before next wintry system