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Traveling to the title, Snow day dampens sendoff

December 06, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Unlike two years ago, when hundreds of students lined up to see Martinsburg High School's football team leave for the state Class AAA championship game, on Friday morning only brave parents watched two charter buses leave for Wheeling Island Stadium.

"Not much of a sendoff is it?" asked Tom Sowers, father of quarterback Nate Sowers.

Because of snow, all of the county's schools were closed. Steady snow fell as the players stacked bags and coolers in the buses' luggage compartments. Parents of football players and the high school's cheerleaders snapped pictures and shared hugs before the buses left.

Officers with the Martinsburg Police Department and Berkeley County Sheriff's Department were in the high school's mostly empty parking lot, waiting to escort the team out.

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Once the buses left the county, a West Virginia State Police escort planned to relay the team to Wheeling in the Northern Panhandle.

Worrying is, of course, what some parents do.

"Who wouldn't be?" asked Sowers. "I think the kids are excited about it, to tell you the truth. I don't know of any kids that don't get excited in this kind of weather."

Donna and Bob Fields shivered in the school's parking lot to send off their two sons, Brandon, a defensive end, and Robert, who plays special teams.

"They said there's a job to do and let's do the job," said Bob Fields.

Since the team has played through rain and freezing temperatures, playing in the snow hopefully will not be too much of a challenge, the couple said.

According to the National Weather Service, snow is possible this morning in Wheeling, but little additional accumulation is expected. Meteorologists predict a high temperature of 30 degrees.

John Spataro's son, Jarred, is a kicker and wide receiver. Snow piled up on Spataro's black and yellow Steelers jacket as he looked toward the buses. He and his wife planned to leave later in the day for Wheeling. "I'll have to convince her that I can drive in the snow," he said.

Carol Barbour was especially concerned about three charter buses scheduled to take fans to the game today. Barbour, in charge of the buses, said that although she had a few extra seats, she expected they would be quickly filled by people who had originally planned to drive themselves.

Barbour's son, Mike, plays outside linebacker.

"I think these boys are going to be alright," she said. "I have a lot of faith in Schrock (the bus company transporting the team)."

Barbour said this could be the year the team brings back the state championship trophy.

"Let's hope so. I'd say yes. This is the year," she said.

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