North Carolina High School Athletic Association

#SportsmanshipTogether: Hurricane Matthew drives cooperation among conference foes

The #SportsmanshipTogether series follows examples of good sportsmanship and programs doing things the right way in an effort to highlight the positive things seen across the NCHSAA during the Association's "Sportsmanship … Together we make the right call" campaign. If you see an example of excellent sportsmanship at an NCHSAA member school or event, please contact James Alverson of the NCHSAA with the details (

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. – When Hurricane Matthew ravaged eastern North Carolina, it quickly became apparent that it would take a lot of cooperation from everyone in the affected communities and beyond to put life back together again. Many communities were hit hard, and West Craven High School was no different.

Many of the school’s students and families were displaced, forced into shelters by the rising floodwaters and daily school work, let alone high school athletics, quickly became an afterthought. In fact, at the time of this story, some two weeks after the hurricane hit, West Craven students have still not been able to get back to their school.

Flooding along the road leading to the school and the collapse of another section of road near the school has forced the building to remained shuttered. Athletic teams at West Craven have started to try and get back together, practicing at their middle school, unable to reach their own campus.

This week the Eagles were scheduled to host their Varsity football contest with White Oak form nearby Jacksonville, obviously, hosting anything at West Craven is out of the question with the road situation.

With West Craven cut-off by flooding and damage, White Oak is stepping up to help their conference rival. White Oak hosted the scheduled JV game between the two schools on Thursday night, and took up donations at that game to be given to West Craven HS to distribute to their students that were affected by the flooding.

On Friday night, which has been declared Hurricane Matthew Relief Assistance Night state-wide in the NCHSAA, White Oak will also host the Varsity contest between the two schools. Rather than take a cut of the gate or concessions for this game, White Oak is giving all of the concession proceeds and gate receipts from the game to West Craven.

The White Oak AD, Chris Grimes and his Principal Chris Barnes made the decision to not even allow their own Booster Club members to be admitted on their booster passes, because the gate belongs to West Craven.

Despite a difficult situation, this is another great example of how great sportsmanship and cooperation helps everyone make the right call.