Although they have been better in recent years, the Warriors have very little soccer tradition or history. This year's team is also a little out-manned. That is why Norris and Ballangee stand out.
Norris is a very tall, athletic looking forward who runs well and is often going against two and sometimes three defenders. He gets banged and pushed around, but he just keeps playing hard regardless of the score.
The same is true for Ballangee, the team's keeper. He does not have the luxury of playing on a team that rarely surrenders a shot. He gets peppered with shots by the better teams in the area and he makes some incredibly athletic stops. Yes, he will give up three or four goals, but a lesser goalie might give up eight or nine. He is as good as any keeper in the state, but the stats will never show it.
I also appreciate how hard both of them play. It is easy to look good, play hard, score goals and stop goals when the team you are on is head and shoulders better than the opposition. It is not as easy to always play that well when you are swimming upstream and your team is playing from behind.
The popular Bradley, now the school's athletic director, fell gravely ill over Labor Day weekend. He has been fighting for his life at University Hospital in Charlottesville, Va.
Bradley is beloved by all who know him, students, former players, his fellow coaches and those of us in the media. I have known him since he graduated from Marsh Fork High School in the 1970s. Coaches all over the state are praying for Jerry Bradley. Now, I am asking you readers to do the same. We are not ready to lose him.
Reach Frank Giardina at fl...@hotmail.com.