Dense fog and a lopsided score provided a less than ideal setting Friday for Dukes fans who followed the team to Clearview.
That didn’t put a damper on feelings of optimism and comradery felt throughout the night.
We sat down with a few of them to talk about the importance of showing support, what the Dukes’ Sept. 7 victory meant after enduring the winless 2017 season, and the change in atmosphere under first-year head coach Rob Howells.
Rob Skinner, uncle of Dukes wide receiver Jayden Skinner: “Wherever (Jayden) goes, I go,” he said. “We’re extremely proud of him and his brother, Justin. I saw the guys after the win last Friday and they were really pumped to get the monkey off their back. They know they can compete and win.”
Jim Dawson, longtime fan and WHS graduate: “I’ve been coming to just about every game since I was a student, and that was a long time ago,” he said. “I hope they can get some more kids to start coming out for the team over the next couple of years. We have a good junior high team and a lot of good kids coming up. I haven’t met the new coach, yet, but I’ve heard nothing but good things.”
Rich Glascoe, grandfather of WHS cheerleader Emily Weegman: “I was really happy for the boys and the girls to get that first win,” he said. “I think the new coach is really on the right track. There’s a lot of younger players out there, and the team could be really solid sooner than people think. It means a lot to the kids to see people in the stands and that’s what we’re here for.”
Ayers Ratliff, Wellington board of education member: “When the guys win we support them and when they lose we support them,” he said. “They’re a young team and they’re going to be something to be reckoned with in a year or two. They’re going to do great things and I can’t wait to watch these younger guys play as juniors and seniors.”
Danielle Thacker, president of the Wellington Fullbackers and mother of Dukes linebacker Jason Keenan: “The kids felt the excitement from a win and came home still talking about it. They love playing. The new coach is all in and has been great working with us. The coaches come to all of our meetings. They’re super supportive and we support them.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.