Winfield takes win but gives back to Nitro
There are moments that occur on the field that are simply bigger than the game itself, and one of those occurred on a rainy evening Monday in Winfield.
While the Generals didn't yield an inch between the lines in a 6-0 victory, they presented Nitro with a heartfelt gift of $500 toward the Dick Green Scholarship Fund.
Green, a Nitro assistant coach and former Hurricane head coach, collapsed and died before a Wildcats game back on Aug. 25.
Winfield coach Marshall Hoff and seniors from the boys and girls soccer teams surprised Nitro coach Kim Aurelio with the check at halftime, drawing tears from Aurelio and an embrace between the coaches.
"Dick has been a part of my life since I was 6," Aurelio said. "It's just a great thing that the community is coming together to honor him. He was a fantastic coach, he was a big part of this community with soccer through rec league and through high school. We're really trying to get this scholarship put together but we need more contributions. Just the fact that the other schools are coming out to support us - it means so much."
Winfield raised the money by passing collection jars at a couple of boys and girls games, suggesting that every family donate $10.
Hoff also took his entire team to a candlelight vigil held at Nitro's soccer field on Aug. 27.
"I tell these girls, respect is something that you earn," Hoff said. "Coach Dick Green and I were adversaries for years while he was at Hurricane and you always share that bit of greatness. He's shared a lot with all these kids and to go on what he was doing throughout the schools was a great thing. Being able to give something to something that great was our honor.
"Our hearts go out to them. I can only imagine what they had to go through there. We keep them in our prayers."
Indeed, it has been a draining year for the Wildcats and it has only gotten worse recently with leading-scorer Laine Roberts being lost for the year with an injured knee.
On Monday, that gutty Wildcats got a good look at one of the state's best and Winfield did not disappoint.
Jayne Lawman registered a hat trick and added an assist while Emily Cole scored twice. Braiden Maddox found the back of the net once and Katie Bryant recorded two assists, rounding out a dominating team effort that kept coming in waves as Hoff substituted often and sometimes up to five players at a time.
The Generals (9-0-1) are ranked No. 3 in this week's Class AAA poll and were fresh off a 1-1 draw against No. 1 Morgantown on Saturday.
Now, staring straight ahead at a Putnam County showdown with No. 2 Hurricane on Saturday, Hoff said he is fairly happy with his team thus far.
"Nitro has good athletes, they field a good team, and to be able to take control - the girls did that and they did a good job," Hoff said. "We're moving right along. We're nowhere near where we need to be yet but we keep edging that way. We've just got to get a little bit better every time we take the field. We're looking forward to this weekend, that's for sure."
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.