What the postponement of the Bluefield v. Graham game means for the area

High School Sports

BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS) — A nationally recognized high school football game is further delayed once again.

Whether you live in Bluefield, Virginia or in Bluefield, West Virginia, your thoughts about the historic high school football matchup between the Bluefield Beavers and the Graham G-Men are the same.

“The Graham/Beaver game is one of those games that everybody talks about, everybody wants to go to. It is history. It is something that is a part of this area,” said Joanne Young, the Principal at Graham High School.

“There is nothing better than having it on the opener because everybody is already planning on coming in and had everything going pretty good, so it’s a shame because of them planning on coming in,” said Freddy Simon, the Bluefield High School Head Football Coach.

The nationally recognized rivalry normally kicks off the season, but for the second time in two years, this is not the case.

“It’s a very difficult decision. I agonized and thought about it, but ultimately my job is to make sure everybody is safe,” said Young.

Young, along with administrators from both schools and county health departments, came to the decision to postpone both the game and cancel practices for all fall sports for a week.

“We felt like to be safe and to preserve any future matches we had, we needed to shut it down so we could get everybody healthy,” said Young.

Young told 59News five students tested positive and 70 others are in quarantine. In the group are student-athletes from different programs within the school. But Young said in the wake of the disappointment lies some silver lining.

“It’s a greater concern when you are talking 10-15,000 people at a football game we could have had a super spreader situation that really could have shut us down,” said Young.

The G-Men can resume practice Aug. 31, 2021 for their game against Tazewell High School. Coach Simon said at the moment they are considering finding a replacement game for week one

But what does this mean for both teams and high school athletics going forward?

“There is no normal, there is no such thing as normal. Things are going to get thrown at you the entire time, you have to concentrate are having your team mentally focused and being mentally tough because you think you are going to get to do something one moment and then the next, you’re not,” said Tony Palmer, the Graham High School Head Football Coach.

Coach Palmer said they are looking to reschedule the game sometime in October since both teams know how much the game means to both Bluefields.

“It will be pretty odd to go through your high school career and only get to play Bluefield twice, so we definitely want to try and get that game in, not only for the seniors, but for the community as a whole,” said Palmer.

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