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.
Polar Bear tennis sweeps East: PHOTOS
Last week East Fairmont’s girls’ tennis team beat Fairmont Senior, 4-3.
Wednesday at Fairmont State University, the Polar Bears returned the favor with a 5-2 win over their cross-town rival.
Alissa Link won No. 1 singles, 8-4. Morgan Hoke won No. 3 singles, 9-7. And Avery Towns won No. 4 singles, 8-5, for the Polar Bears.
Falcons set for spring game
Football is back … well, kind of.
Today at 7 p.m., Fairmont State will hold its annual Maroon & White spring game at Duvall-Rosier Field. The scoreboard won’t mean a whole lot since it’s little more than a glorified scrimmage. Instead, here are five things to watch during today’s game.
HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age
The other day Baylor football coach Art Briles walked into his graduate assistants’ office and had to laugh at what he saw.
“There’s five guys sitting in there — a couple of GA’s and some office personnel — and they all are within a foot and a half of each other and not a one of them is talking to each other,” Briles said, describing the scene “Every one of them is on the phone.”
Hillberry commits to Wesleyan
Last year Emma Harrison and Kaitlyn Conaway teamed up with Alexis Hillberry to win several relay medals at the state track meet.
Though the two West Virginia Wesleyan runners are now in college, they helped to pass the baton to Hillberry Wednesday when she signed her National Letter of Intent to join her former teammates on the Bobcats’ track team.
O’Brien leads WVU baseball past Marshall
Catcher Cam O’Brien made a bid at becoming only the second West Virginia University player to hit for the cycle as the Mountaineers jumped on Marshall early and routed their in-state rival, 10-3, behind strong pitching from Corey Walter and a pair of relievers.
North, East softball earn blowout wins
The North Marion softball team was at it again Wednesday night.
Mattie Polling tripled and singled, starting pitcher Chelsi Latocha doubled and gave up just one hit as the Huskies rolled to another 3-inning mercy-rule victory over Lewis County, 18-1.
Simon, Bruce lead Reds past Bucs, 5-2
Alfredo Simon pitched into the seventh inning despite erratic control, Jay Bruce drove in a run for a fifth consecutive game and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 Wednesday night.
Simon (3-1) worked 6 2-3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits and five walks while striking out four.
Pens squander lead, fall to Columbus
Brandon Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and Nick Foligno’s wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
Cousins Sansalone, Craig lead Polar Bears past B-U: PHOTOS
They say you don’t mess with family. Buckhannon-Upshur found that one out the hard way.
Mascaro signs with FSU
Gabi Mascaro is staying in Fairmont.
After considering several out-of-state colleges, the Fairmont Senior soccer standout signed her National Letter of Intent Tuesday to continue her career at Fairmont State University, an upstart program which will play its first games in 2015.
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- Polar Bear tennis sweeps East: PHOTOS