Magnolia's Mark Batton and Ravenswood's Dick Sturm are two football coaches who have been in the business a long time.
They understand what's on the line Friday night at Wheeling Island Stadium. Two unbeaten teams both chasing after a Class AA state championship.
They also know how to diffuse a situation before it even develops. Out of respect for each other's programs and as a way to display pure sportsmanship, don't be alarmed when players from both sides step across the midfield stripe during pregame warmups and exchange handshakes.
We typically see this occur at the conclusion of a game. Sometimes we don't. Appalled was the first word which comes to mind after watching the replay of the fight which broke out following the Hurricane and South Charleston playoff game several weeks ago.
The behavior reminds me of the street fighting which goes on in the Middle East. Not quite to that severity, but at the same time I was waiting for police on horseback to arrive and teargas to go off.
An incident like this makes you appreciate that much more what Batton and Sturm represent. They know the rules and abide by them. They expect the same out of their program.
It's a shame only win can walk off with the trophy.
Take its football brethren for example. AP polls, Harris polls and BCS polls take into account the top 25. Do the math and that's close to 20 percent of Division I being rated.
Finish at .500 and you've practically secured a bowl berth.
It seems as if every year college basketball adds a handful of schools to its family. There are in upwards of nearly 350 schools playing at the Division I level. Do the math again and that's just seven percent being included in a top 25. Maybe it's time to expand to a top 50.
March Madness has expanded to include 68 teams this season. Of course you don't want to dilute the field, but wouldn't 128 be a more logical number? That would require just one additional round than in recent years. And it is still including less than half of the Division I field.
Major League Baseball is looking into following a similar path by expanding the playoff field. Let's just hope it doesn't become "A No Team Left Behind" kind of mentality.
When Boise State placekicker Kyle Brotzman missed a 26-yard field goal for the potential gamewinner at the end of regulation, one economist estimated that the university lost out on $4 million. No BCS Bowl appearance. No ticket revenue. Just a second-rate bowl berth.
Then there's Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who had a sure touchdown reception slip through his hands in overtime. Of course, the loss keeps Buffalo in contention for a high draft pick.
So who do you think feels worse?
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org