North Carolina High School Athletic Association

#SportsmanshipTogether: Injury brings two teams together in middle of a playoff game

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 (

BRYSON CITY, N.C. – Playoff games are always intense. There is always an added edge when you know your season could end if you're on the losing side that night. Swain County hosted North Stanly in the 1AA Football Playoffs last Friday night and for one of the two teams, their season would come to an end.

During the game, a Swain County player went down with what appeared at the time to be a very serious back injury. As is typical during an injury timeout, a hush fell over the stadium. As the training staffs went to work on the injured player, assessing the injury and determining the best course of action, the Swain County Maroon Devils all decided to go over an kneel as a team, to pray for their injured teammate. 

It is not an uncommon sight to see teammates rally around each other during a very serious moment, but what was uncommon was the response of their opponents from North Stanly. Unprompted, North Stanly's coaching staff and players walked over to the far sideline and joined the Maroon Devils in kneeling and praying for their injured opponent. 

Swain County Head Coach Neil Blankenship said, "This is what this job should be about. Great job by the coaches and players at North Stanly, they were a true class act."