By Richard Miller on April 11, 2021
The First Flight Nighthawks and Currituck Knights football teams played their final game of a very unique season Saturday April 10 at Currituck. The 50-16 win for Currituck closed the book on a season that was punctuated with more asterisks than a well-referenced science article. Almost everything from a global pandemic to bad weather challenged the playing of this season. But the games were played and the season is now a matter of record.
Currituck was a formidable force on the gridiron Saturday. Currituck’s line tore open gaping holes for their power runners Traveon Powell and Carmillo Burton. Quarterback Makegan Piorkowski was a calm, steady presence that guided the Knights throughout the game. Great plays by the First Flight quarterback Porter Braddy and running back Cullen McNinch also gave the Nighthawks faithful in attendance something to cheer about.
Many players made many plays for both teams. It was a good game. It was a memorable game. A game memorable, not necessarily for the score or a particular play, but the game will be remembered for the emotions that surrounded the game. A game that was played during a season marked by a pandemic and above all, a game that would be the last for many players.
Following the game both teams met midfield, in a line, offering congratulations and a “good game.” Like a mirror image, the players, coaches and staff for the teams then headed to a end zone at opposite ends of the stadium. This is “standard fare” at a high school sporting event. But the events that then occurred with the First Flight squad was something very foreign, it was not your typical huddle, or post-game speeches, it was a very classy move by the coaches. Now I have never witnessed the ritual before at any game so it always make this game memorable to me.
After all the players had gathered around, the seniors congregated under the goalpost, alone, while the remaining players got into several lines away from the end zone. The coaches got into a line furthermost from the goal post, with head coach Prince the last person in line. Parents formed a semi circle at a guarded distance respecting the moment that their sons were sharing with their teammates.
There was a lot of emotion expressed by the seniors as they embraced one another, not for the loss to Currituck, but because these moments would be the last that they would spend as teammates on a football field. It was clear that these individuals had become a team. A team had become a Band of Brothers.
After a period of time the seniors, one after one, walked over to the other players and one by one embraced them, and gave them advice and words of encouragement. The line of seniors would snake around until they made it to the line of coaches and ultimately coach Prince. And one by one, coach Prince would look each player in the eye and share a special moment with his now “former” players. A moment that I trust will last a lifetime with the young men.
Additional photos of this game are available at Richard L Miller Photography.