WHEELING - Undoubtedly this is going to go down as an historic Super Six State Football Championships. For the first time since the games came to our city, the West Virginia Class AAA title contest, which pits Brooke (11-2) and Martinsburg (13-0) at 7 tonight at Wheeling Island Stadium, will be held a week apart - late, in this case - from the remaining two divisions.
That alone makes it noteworthy.
But the big news, at least around these parts, is the fact that a Brooke victory will give the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference a clean sweep for the first time since state titles began being handed out in the Mountain State. Magnolia and Wheeling Central took home the top prizes last weekend.
Sure, the conference has come close by winning 2 of 3 on three occasions: Wheeling Central (AA) and Paden City (A) in 1979; Brooke (AAA) and Sistersville (A) in 1985; and Brooke and Madonna (A) in 1987.
But the fact is, this is the first time such an occurrence has even been possible.
And sure, technically if you include current members who weren't at the time of victory, the OVAC did in fact take all three. That would be in 2005 when Morgantown (AAA), Weir (AA) and Wheeling Central (A) were crowned.
But as we all know, Morgantown is in its first year as a member of the OVAC.
All told, Ohio Valley teams, including those schools no longer in existence, have brought home 35 state championships in football, and finished second 24 more times. That equates to having a participant in 35 percent of all the title games that have been contested, and to take it a step farther, the Ohio Valley wins at least one title 21 percent of the time.
What's all this mean?
Well, for starters it puts to bed the ridiculous notion that prep football is not played above the Mason-Dixon Line. For a while now, people to the south have thumbed their collective nose at our brand of football, even going so far as to call it soft.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, it tells us that we have kids who are willing to take instruction and put it to the correct use. It tells us that our youth takes pride in standing up for something of a greater good than one's own glory.
It's no secret that this area - the whole state, actually - has been ravaged by the poorest economy of most of our lives. But this should also tell you, that despite all we've lost, you are the parents of children who still have pride in themselves, their school and their community.
There are some days when I wonder if that kind of commitment still exists.
Thanks to the Blue Eagles, Maroon Knights and Bruins, today isn't one of those.
Shawn Rine can be reached via e-mail at Rine@theintelligencer.net