The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Harold Raker

November 30, 2012

Harold Raker's column on high school football: Showing their respect

We have all heard the overused phrase "These teams don't like one another," but I'm not sure, in most cases, if that is actually true.

Or is it something that writers and TV talking heads use to hype a particular game?

Those hateful rivalries probably exist more at the National Football League level (Google "Ndamukong Suh/kick'') than in college and, especially in high school.

Of course, games like Mount Carmel-Shamokin, Line Mountain-Upper Dauphin, Shikellamy-Selinsgrove -- to name a few -- are certainly heated rivalries.

One might argue that what happened earlier this year late in the game between the Seals and Braves at Harold L. Bolig Memorial Field was an indication that such hatred exists at that level. I maintain that what happened on that emotional night was an isolated incident.

More indicative of the respect that our Valley's teams have for their opponents could be seen after last week's District 4 Class AA championship game in Danville. Minutes after the Ironmen had pulled what many consider an upset victory over the Mount Carmel Red Tornadoes, ending the defending district champion's season shy of a return to the state playoffs, this scenario unfolded on the field:

The Mount Carmel players, after their post-game huddle, were walking past Danville's huddle when Mount Carmel's Northwestern University-bound tight end, Eric Joraskie, had something to say to his conquerors.

The big senior told the Ironmen that they are a great team and they played a great game. He followed by imploring them to go make something happen in the state tournament.

Danville coaches, one of whom remarked "now that is a class act right there,' asked their players to give Joraskie and his teammates a round of applause. They gladly obliged.

It was a poignant scene on a cold fall evening and it seemed especially appropriate, coming on the day after Thanksgiving.

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Harold Raker
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