UPDATE: Clay County players and fans pray out loud during moment of silence

Published: Aug. 28, 2017 at 6:40 PM EDT
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UPDATE 9/1/2017 @ 11 p.m.

CLAY COUNTY W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Before Friday night's matchup between Clay County and Braxton County, both teams knelt in prayer at the center of the field.

Prayer is nothing new for Clay County High School football games, but Friday was the first night of a new mandate: prayer cannot be read over the loudspeaker.

After someone voiced a concern to Clay County Schools about the practice, the school decided to instead observe a moment of silence.

"If anyone wishes to pray, I by all means wish that they would," Clay County High School Principal Crystal Gibson told WSAZ Friday night.

Several fans wore shirts that said, "I'm gonna pray anyway."

When the moment of silence was called for, both teams rushed the field and prayed out loud while some people in the stands did, as well.


CLAY COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Friday night football will be different in Clay County this fall.

There will no longer be a pregame prayer read aloud over the speaker. Instead, there will be a moment of silence. The county plans to adopt this general rule before all school events.

Clay County Schools Superintendent Joe Paxton tells WSAZ the decision came after one person spoke to the school board.

"We had a request last year toward the end of football season to check into whether it [prayer] was taking place and, if so was it allowed?" Paxton said.

Paxton said the district then made the call to move toward a moment of silence, citing the Supreme Court ruling that prayer at school is unconstitutional.

"This is a situation that is unfortunately out of our hands. The U.S. Supreme Court is the supreme law of the land," Paxton said.

Several people in the community plan to stand and pray in unison during the moment of silence at football games.

The next home football game is Friday, Sept. 1.