Many people believe that high school football is the last truly pure sport. Everything is in sports. Thrills, suspense, players do not play for money, but for the love of competition. Friday night, the scene after West Chester Rustin defeated Strath Haven in overtime in the District 1 5A semi-finals showed just how joyful the sport can be.
After Rustin scored in the first overtime, the Panthers immediately returned and scored a touchdown of their own. But after he decided to go for the win and score two points, Panthers quarterback Sam Milligan missed and the Golden Knights scored a very big win, sending them to their third straight title game in District 1 5A.
Rustin’s touchline erupted in jubilation as they rushed onto the field, followed by a sea of students and families who poured out of the visitors’ stands. There were hugs, handshakes and family photos all around.
It was a spontaneous outpouring of emotion, joy and celebration for the entire Rustin football family. There were tears of joy among the family members, and you couldn’t find a player or coach Rustin who didn’t have a huge smile on their faces.
When you put so much into something and then see the fruits of your labor, you will have scenes that took place on the Strath Haven field after the Golden Knights’ spectacular victory.
It was a three month attempt. no, now football is an activity that lasts 12 months a year and requires many hours of training, preparation and sacrifice. Those hot August days and those countless hours in the gym are hoping to lead to wins and moments like Friday night in Strath Haven for Rustin’s football family.
And this is family. Under their only head coach in history, Mike St. Clair, the Golden Knights have always been a selfless team playing for each other. No one is ahead of the other and they really care about each other.
It is the only way in football to achieve many of the lofty goals that the Golden Knights have achieved over the years. Many Ches Mon League titles, playoff victories, and the district championship are only achieved by everyone rowing in the same direction.
There were many ex-Rustin footballers celebrating on the Strathaven pitch, a testament to the good experience they had as members of the Golden Knights football team.
St. Clair was surrounded by well-wishers, former players, and anyone associated with Rustin football. The outburst of emotions was truly a spectacle. Such a holiday is possible only when people have a sense of family, unity and love.
The Rustin football family has all this and more. Yes, high school football is indeed a wonderful sport that brings people together when done right. In Rustin they live it day in and day out.