A game is just a game. At the end of the day, no one will hardly remember what happened on the field 10 years ago.

But 10 years from now, the fine people of Hancock County will still remember the kid who wore Superman cleats.

So, too, will the people of the Cosby community.

While many have been rehashing and debating the nuances of Tennessee’s fourth quarter collapse at The Swamp on Saturday, the people of these two small-town, sports-minded communities have rallied together. Hancock County High School played at Cosby High on Friday. The two long-time rivals have never really liked each other - with their basketball battles well-documented.

But it’s clear to tell they respect each other.

That point is evident in how they’ve picked each other up this weekend.

Saturday night, Hancock County High School quarterback Dakota Blevins was killed in an auto accident in the Thorn Hill community of Grainger County. Since word of the tragedy that took a young man’s life too soon has spread, the Cosby High community and football team have banded together to show support for their fallen rival. Many Cosby High players and community members changed their Facebook and Twitter profile photos to a simple ’10’ - in memory of Blevins, who wore that jersey number for the final time on Friday at Virgil Ball Stadium.

In the aftermath of the accident, the Cosby High team has ordered decals with Blevins’ initials and number on them and plan to wear them on their helmets for the remainder of the season.

That says a lot for the rivals to band together.

But what else would anyone expect from small-town communities. They compete like heck to beat each other on the field, but show extreme respect and know what it’s like to be in each others shoes most of the times.

It’s also a refreshing step of reflection to see the outpouring of support, after listening ad nauseam to much bantering back and forth over the fate of the Vols in the wake of Saturday’s loss.

It seems in today’s instant gratification society of the everyone has a platform to speak their mind social media times, that everyone has an opinion and someone should always be getting fired for something that happens on the field of competition.

Sometimes, quite simply, there are bigger and more important things than sports. It’s a shame that it often times takes such tragedy to make us realize that.

I never had the pleasure to meet Dakota Blevins. But from all accounts online and from the Sneedville community, they have lost a tremendous ambassador and leader in the youth of their community. Much thoughts and prayers go out to Hancock County.


Seth Butler is the Sports Editor of the Newport Plain Talk. He may be reached via email at seth.butler@newportplaintalk.com and followed via Twitter @NPTSethButler.

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(1) comment


Excellent article! Great writing Seth!

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