Hoover families react after players not recognized during Sissonville game
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Friday night’s football game between Sissonville and Herbert Hoover ended with a victory for the Huskies, but not all players for Herbert Hoover were recognized for their part.
Both Talon Harrison and Blake Fisher, a Hoover junior and sophomore, respectively, transferred from Sissonville to Herbert Hoover before the start of the school year.
Their families said they believe that’s why they were only referred by their jersey numbers.
“I thought to myself, maybe that’ll only happen once,” Talon Harrison’s, dad, Scott said Wednesday. “Surely, maybe it’s a coincidence. But it had me on my toes.”
Roland Eagle, Blake Fisher’s grandfather, noticed when his grandson scored a touchdown.
“It was like, we don’t want him to be recognized for what he does. I mean, he loves his football and Talon does too,” he said. “They played together for years.”
In a statement posted Tuesday on Sissonville High School’s Facebook page, the school’s principal, Dr. Gene Smith, wrote in part:
“Recently I made the decision to not announce the names of former SHS players who transferred out. I acted alone in this decision and take responsibility for my actions.”
Referencing the athlete transfer bill passed last legislative session, Smith went on to write:
“My intent was not to disrespect these two young men, but to draw attention to the recruiting effort facilitated by the new law making transferring much easier.
“My issues with adults, lawmakers and coaches should have never allowed me to make these young student-athletes have their competitive spirit discredited by a poor decision.
“I apologize to Blake Fisher, Talon Harrison and those I offended.”
The transfer rule allows students in high school to transfer once and still have athletic eligibility.
Delegate Dana Ferrell, who represents Sissonville and has submitted paperwork to reverse the athlete transfer bill next legislative session, said he has been worried about this happening with current rules.
“I don’t blame the student-athlete or their parents for wanting to better themselves the best way they see how. What we do blame is the Legislature for creating an environment that allows this to happen en masse,” he said. “This tearing and ripping neighbor against neighbor, this bill sets the stage, the environment for things like this to happen.”
Both Harrison and Eagle denied their loved ones were recruited and left on their own accord.
They say they just want what’s best for the boys.
“My son doesn’t need an accolade. He doesn’t need someone to announce his name. It’s just the behavior of it,” Harrison said. “The reasoning behind it just wasn’t something that I want my part my son to be part of.”
“I’ve asked [Blake] several times, ‘Are you happy at Hoover?’ and he says, ‘Yes I am’, and he knows better than to lie to pop-pop.”
WSAZ reached out to Dr. Smith for an in-person interview for this story but he declined the request. He did say going forward, play calls will go back to normal calling the names and numbers of those who make plays.
WSAZ also reached out to Kanawha County Schools, asking if anything was done about the incident, but a spokesperson said they cannot comment on personnel matters.
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