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Opinion

November 2, 2012

An afternoon setting could make East-West even more special

It’s East-West football time once again.

The game is being played the same week that Marion County has had a brush with a hurricane, although, quite fortunately, we received just a small taste of what turned out to be a disastrous storm.

Unfortunately, the two local schools, who will be playing for the city championship tonight at East-West Stadium, both have disappointing records.

Fairmont Senior was expected to have a fairly good record this year, but things didn’t work out that way. In their first year in Class AA, the Polar Bears have a record of four wins and five losses. Most observers expected them to be better than that.

East Fairmont also failed to produce a winning record — falling below expectations in its first year in Class AA. When East Fairmont squeezed out a victory at Philip Barbour last Friday in the final seconds, that gave the Bees a record of just three wins against six losses to take into tonight’s East-West game.

It has been rather rare, in recent years, that both schools have taken losing records into the city’s title matchup, although both teams experienced similar sub-par seasons last year.

This game is called the highlight of the local high school football season, and we imagine that it is. But the East-West series really was a highlight when the game was played in the afternoon.

The game, many years ago, was played in the afternoon following the Veterans Day parade. The students usually marched out to the stadium, and both bands would present military shows. It was a great time!

The idea has been tossed around before, but we’re tossing it out there again. Why not play an afternoon East-West game?

We realize we’ll never go back to having the city championship game on Veterans Day again, as it was for many years. The state playoff picture does not allow for that. It’s impossible to play a regular-season game as late as Nov. 11 these days.

Fairmont Senior has won the last four East-West meetings — pounding the Bees by a 48-0 score last year and 39-7 the year before. East’s last victory came in 2007 when the Polar Bears were defeated, 27-21, in overtime as the Bees went to the semifinals of the state playoffs. That was East’s best playoff showing in history.

The last four victories by the Polar Bears have extended their lead in the series to 56 wins to 28 for the Bees. Seven games have ended in ties. The Polar Bears have won two games for every victory the Bees have posted. And having the game played on Friday night makes it seem just like another regular-season game.

The East-West game could be an even more special sporting event. Having a Saturday afternoon game might help spark attendance and add some much-needed luster to the contest that it may have lost over the years.

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