The Train’s Left the Station

Shot in the Darke

It’s sad to hear that Bradford High School won’t be fielding a varsity football team this fall due to a lack of willing participants. The ‘Roaders have informed WOAC officials over the past week or so that they will be unable to fulfill their commitment to a competitive schedule. With only one senior and mostly inexperienced underclassmen the decision was made after last year’s coach resigned a few weeks ago.  

This is the second time that Bradford has suspended the program due to low numbers, the last time while a member of the now defunct Cross County Conference. As this wasn’t completely unexpected by other WOAC members, some schools have already been reaching out to fill the vacuum caused by the Railroaders default. Hopefully each school will find opponents to fill out a ten-game schedule although at this late date there will be a lot of scrambling going on in various athletic departments! 

You have to feel sorry for not only the few Bradford kids who wanted to play but also for the cheerleaders, band, fans, and parents. Bradford has had a proud pigskin tradition in the past, in the ‘80s with tough competitive teams who fought for playoff berths. My wife Kathy was an elementary teacher for 30 years in the Bradford system and I can still remember  all of her fourth grade students being fired up for peewee football and cheerleading! 

Bradford has had tremendous success over the past few years, particularly in softball (three Final Four visits in the past four years with a state championship in ‘21) and power lifting while this coming season’s boys basketball team will be a dynamic force on the hardwood. Here’s hoping that football makes a comeback along the Darke-Miami County line! 

The high school fall sports season started last week with several golf invitationals. At Turtle Creek the Green Wave boys hosted their own meet, finishing 13th out of 14 entries. Under the guidance of veteran coach Brian Stickel, the young squad struggled in the early going before settling down. After graduating most of last year’s team, expect continued improvement as experience is gained and practice begins to pay off.  

Speaking of Coach Stickel he recorded his fourth career hole-in-one on the par three 17th at the Turtle two weeks ago! Unfortunately his eligibility ran out about 50 years ago!! 

After starting the baseball campaign 3-22 the Reds, despite recently trading away several starters, namely Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle, along with other veterans like Brandon Drury, Tommy Pham, and Tyler Naquin, have since recorded a 41-41 mark and moved into third place in the NL Central. Even with a number of players still on the Injured List and a bullpen that is among the worst in the majors, David Bell’s team has played well for the most part. 

By virtue of winning four of five games over the weekend with the Braves, the Mets have opened up a 6.5 game lead in the NL East over the defending champions. I almost have to say that the Mets are the equal of, if not better than, the slumping Yankees for bragging rights in Gotham City!

Meanwhile, the Cardinals, after sweeping the Yankees, have moved into a two-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central. Expect the Redbirds and the Brew Crew to battle it out over the rest of the season. 

Don’t know if you watched the Women’s British Open but if you didn’t you missed a great finish to the tournament. South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai, after blowing a three shot lead with four holes to go, prevailed over South Korean In Gee Chun in a four-hole playoff. Lots of pressure packed shots and putts made for great viewing! 

Finally, in the It’s Fitting Category, Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Kyle Snyder joined 15 other team members residing on the Injured List by pulling a calf muscle while walking to the  mound in the middle of a game, having to be helped off the field. If you can’t help ‘em, join ‘em!! Have a great muscle strain free week!

 

Dr. Alex Warner | Correspondent for Darke County Now

Dr. Alex Warner / Correspondent

Alex Warner is a retired Greenville chiropractor as well as a former educator and high school coach. He has over 30 years experience in broadcasting high school sports on both radio and public access television in addition to producing over 50 episodes of the local television series “Our Town”. A man of many interests, he is naturally curious with a “gift of gab”. He currently writes the weekly sports column “Shots in the Darke” and hosts “Talk of the Town” featuring people, places, and events that make Darke County the place we choose to reside.

Previous Blazers host New Miami in football scrimmage

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