Many people believe that high school football is the last truly pure sport there is. The sport has it all. Thrills, suspense, players who play not for money but for the love of competition. The scene on Friday night, after West Chester defeated Rustin Strath-Haven in overtime in the District 1 5A semifinals, showed just how joyful the sport can be.
After Rustin scored in the first overtime, the Panthers came right back and scored a touchdown of their own. But after going for the win and two-point conversion, Panthers quarterback Sam Milligan fumbled the snap and the Golden Knights had a very big win that took them to their third straight District 1-5A title game sent.
The Rustin sidelines exploded with joy as they charged across the field, pursued by a sea of students and families pouring from the visitors’ stands. There were hugs and handshakes and family photos everywhere.
It was a spontaneous burst of emotion, joy and celebration for the entire Rustin football family. Tears of joy shed among family members and one couldn’t find a Rustin player or coach who didn’t have huge smiles on their collective faces.
When you invest that much in something and then see the fruits of your labor, you will have scenes that took place on Strath-Haven Field after the Golden Knights’ thrilling victory.
This was a three month endeavor. No, football is now a 12-month endeavor with many hours of practice, preparation and sacrifice. Those hot August days and those countless hours in the weight room are hoping to lead to victories and moments like Friday night’s in Strath-Haven for the Rustin football family.
And family it is. The Golden Knights, under their only head coach in history, Mike St.Clair, have always been a selfless, supportive squad. Neither is ahead of the other and they really are there for each other.
This is the only way to achieve the many lofty goals in football that the Golden Knights have achieved over the years. The many Ches Mont league titles, playoff victories and a district championship will only be achieved if everyone rows in the same direction.
There were many former Rustin football players partying at Strath Haven Field, a testament to the good experiences they had as members of the Golden Knights football team.
St. Clair was besieged by well-wishers, former players and everyone associated with Rustin Football. The burst of emotion was truly a sight to behold. This type of celebration can only happen when people have a sense of family, togetherness, and love.
The Rustin football family has all that and then some. Yes, high school football is truly a remarkable sport that brings people together when done right. At Rustin, they live it every day.