Somewhere the sun is shining.
Somewhere, Sunday morning arrived with a laugh and a smile.
This, you se,e is a football city, a place where the games people play spill out from the confines of the palaces built in which they play them.
And on a Saturday evening in the month of November, at a time when things finally seemed to be going West Virginia University’s way after a season of discontent, everything came undone.
Just when it seemed as if the Mountaineers, everyone’s heroes, had pulled off another stunner, just as they had a week earlier against TCU and a month earlier against Oklahoma State as three-touchdown underdogs, the Earth split open and swallowed them alive.
This was against Texas, one of college football’s legendary universities, home to Vince Young and Earl Campbell and so many others. It was a place where the Heisman Trophy and the national championship trophy has resided, unlike West Virginia.
Now Texas was trying to do it again, this time the hard way, losing two of its first three games this year before racing through the Big 12 schedule, trying to save its coach, Mack Brown’s, job, winning week after week after week.
But the Mountaineers led in a game that had turned from disaster to delight.
It was the fourth quarter.
All WVU needed was one more stop and the game was theirs, a bowl trip almost guaranteed, even Dana Holgorsen’s job virtually assured.
All they had to do was play some defense …
And that’s when the sun faded, the clouds gathered and the season could be felt slipping away.
Until then they had been if nothing else courageous.
The starting quarterback, Clint Trickett, had been torn limb from limb by Texas’ savage pass rush.
How bad was it? He had been sacked five times while able to get off only four passes.
“He got his bell rung,” Holgorsen said. “He was knocked out there for a bit. He was back on the sidelines a little bit later, so I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
If he is, he will be feeling better than most of the WVU faithful, who are not used to what’s transpired the last couple of seasons.
This is a football city, a city where Major Harris did his thing and Pat White did, too.
It has been a city where winning football is played, not .500 football.
Now WVU stands 4-6, 2-5 in that Big 12 Conference it was forced into joining, and that hurts, even worse when it wakes up on this same morning to find Marshall down south at 6-3.
It isn’t supposed to be that way, not today, not any day.
Since a 5-0 start last season that had people talking about national championships and wound up something less than a Pinstripe Bowl championship, WVU is 6-12. That’s one win every three games, and that’s absolutely unacceptable.
Losing is one thing, but losing the way WVU has is something else.
In this one the Mountaineers were down by that one touchdown in overtime.
They came out and ran a wonderful play, a reverse to the fleet Mario Alford that went for 20 yards.
Now it was first and goal with just 5 yards needed to tie the game and force a second overtime.
Five yards, 15 feet.
WVU gained one yard in four plays and it was over.
Sadly, softly over, done with an interception on a pass that had no chance.
The shame was there were people who deserved so much more.
Charles Sims had fought the good fight at running back, scoring three touchdowns, carrying 24 times for 93 yards, even laying the key block on Dreamius Smith’s 8-yard touchdown run.
Then there was Millard, who was courageous against the savage rush, and Alford, who not only had the 20-yard overtime run but a 72-yard touchdown reception in which he turned on the jets to run away from a Texas corner.
But there were too many others who couldn’t get it done, blocking for the quarterbacks, snapping them the ball.
In the end it was just another loss, something that has become far too common in this football city.
Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.
Somewhere the sun is shining.
Fairmont Senior bullies Ritchie County to claim regional title: PHOTOS
While remnants of a winter storm remained outside of the Woody Williams Armory, No. 1 Fairmont Senior was on fire inside, beating Ritchie County, 69-31, for the Region I title.
It was business as usual for Fairmont Senior, which will advance to the state tournament beginning next Wednesday in Charleston.
North Marion tops Webster, 76-48
North Marion rebounded from a sectional championship loss to beat Webster County, 76-48, on the road Thursday night to punch its ticket to the state tournament.
The Lady Huskies, which had four of their five starters in double figures, used a team effort to get the win.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Huggins just wants WVU to compete
In the end, with Bob Huggins, they count victories and losses, and he has always been one to pile up the victories while keeping the losses to a minimum, at least until the last two seasons at West Virginia University.
And, in the end, when he tries to analyze why the losses have come rather than the victories, he comes to understand that he just doesn’t have the manpower to compete.
Cold-shooting Lady Falcons fall to State
In its biggest game of the season to date Fairmont State suffered its worst performance.
Fifth-seeded FSU shot a season-low 29.5 percent from the field (18-of-61), including a dismal 8-of-33 showing (24.2 percent) in the second half and as a result fell, 71-59, to fourth-seeded West Virginia State in the quarterfinals of the first Mountain East Conference Women's Basketball Tournament here Thursday night at the Charleston Civic Center.
Falcons hope for tournament run
Since day one, making another post-season run has been at the top of Fairmont State coach Jerrod Calhoun’s mind.
Last season the Falcons went three-for-four in the WVIAC Tournament, falling to West Liberty in the tournament’s final game. The strong run, though, propelled the Falcons into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed.
Carey, Bussie headline Big 12 awards
To the victors go the spoils, and West Virginia University’s newly crowned Big 12 women’s basketball regular-season co-champions certainly took down their share of the conference’s post-season awards, headed by coach Mike Carey and senior center Asya Bussie.
FURFARI COLUMN: Women’s finale fitting as all-time Coliseum great
If you weren’t among the thrilled, extremely vocal 5,502 fans at the WVU Coliseum last Tuesday night, you missed one of the most memorable sports events in that 44-year-old arena’s history.
The No. 7 nationally ranked West Virginia University women’s basketball team’s capture of the Big 12 Conference regular-season co-championship beating Kansas 67-60 on Senior Night was followed by a wild, wonderful celebration.
Local product enters Mount St. Mary’s Hall of Fame
Fairmont Senior graduate Heather Wable DeWees has been inducted into Mount St. Mary’s University Athletics Hall of Fame.
During her time on Mount St. Mary’s women’s basketball team, she was described as a “winner.”
Elliott, Delligatti share state championship win with their fathers
As human beings, we love to share special moments with those we are closest to.
For Ryan Elliott and Vincent Delligatti, that moment was winning the state championship, something they were both able to accomplish with their father as a coach on their wrestling team.
Oklahoma pulls away from WVU, 72-62
Reality hit West Virginia University in the gut Wednesday as No. 23 Oklahoma showed the Mountaineers almost every reason why they are not an NCAA Tournament team this year, pulling away in the second half to a 72-62 victory in Norman.
- More Sports Headlines
- Fairmont Senior bullies Ritchie County to claim regional title: PHOTOS