CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dennis Ball and the trusty mailman have a lot in common.
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night has kept Ball from completing a somewhat remarkable streak of 400 straight games tallying high school football statistics, almost all of them for Cabell County teams.
Ball, the longtime Cabell Midland statistician, hit that mark Friday night during a home victory against Woodrow Wilson, and was greeted with a pregame surprise party, as the school proclaimed "Dennis Ball Knight'' in Ona.
The 70-year-old Ball was presented with a special plaque that tied up his years in the community - including a picture from when he played football for Milton High School in 1961 and a photo from when he was inducted into the Knights Hall of Fame upon his 300th straight game of keeping stats.
"He didn't know anything about it. He was in tears,'' said his daughter, Angie, who helped plan Friday's event.
"At 300 games, they gave him a big plaque. In his 35th year, they thought it was great because not too many people do stuff like that. He got a thank-you for his service from Cabell County schools. But this is the big one. We even put his senior picture from when he played at Milton in our [game] program.''
Ball has done volunteer stat work for every football game - home and away - since Cabell Midland opened in 1994 as a consolidation of Milton and Barboursville. Prior to that, he crunched numbers for Milton from 1976-93.
Now in his 38th year of keeping stats, Ball readily admits he never intended to get to 400 straight games, and has openly spoken of retiring from his duties for several years. But Midland's coaches have always talked him into coming back.
Amazingly, Ball has compiled his lengthy streak working under just five head coaches - first for the late Todd Fugate, a former player for Marshall, and Richard Williams at Milton, then Jim Thornburg (1994-98), Chip McMillian (1999-2010) and Luke Salmons (2011-present) at Midland.