Friday, December 5, 2008
Crittenden County's three captains, Gage Courtney, Rodney Robertson and J.D. Gray, greet Beechwood's captains before the cointoss of the their Class A state semifinal football game Friday night in Fort Mitchell.
The outcome of Crittenden County's Class A state semifinal game against Beechwood wasn't just a David vs. Goliath matchup on paper. The differences between the two programs stood out in the stands, too.
According to city-data.com, the two school's corresponding cities, Marion and Fort Mitchell, have vastly different characteristics, despite being the homes to Class A schools.
Marion 3,069, Fort Mitchell 7,556.
Median household income:
Marion $27,411, Fort Mitchell $53,112.
Residents with income below poverty level:
Marion 24.3 percent, Fort Mitchell 3.4 percent.
Folks with a bachelor's degree or higher:
Marion 9.3 percent, Fort Mitchell 37.6 percent.
Little wonder then, how Beechwood gathered up the funds to play on a turf field.
Rocket fans, donned in Carhardts and camouflage (one Rocket football player actually had a camouflage muff around his waist), were juxtaposed by their calmer counterparts to their right — a few sporting actual fur coats.
While Beechwood's fans huddled together in the cold air reaching temperatures in the teens, Crittenden fans stormed the field before the game to cheer the Rockets as they took the field.
Rocket fans stayed and they cheered through the 34-0 loss and they hugged their football players and cried with them after the game, all the more proud to have Crittenden reach the semifinals for just the second time in school history.
But ask someone who really knows, really cares, who were the best fans at the game Friday night. Ask Rockets coach Al Starnes, who just completed his 18th year with the Rockets.
"You can't beat that," Starnes said about the support. "We had a great send off yesterday. The community did a great job of that, and I looked up here one time and we had more fans in the stands than they did. It just shows the support that we have. It’s a five-hour trip and to have as many as we had — the fans are great."
Maybe money can't buy true support.