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Poor sports distract from rivalry

Rivalry games always inspire the emotions.  Marion County-Washington County rivalry is no different.
But that's not an excuse for vandalism, and unfortunately, that's what happened at both high schools overnight. The evidence was found Friday morning at both schools.
At Marion County High, someone spray painted the football field.
"They painted a big W in the middle of the field," said Robbie Peterson, Marion County athletics director and assistant principal.
He also said "WCHS" was  painted on one of the end zones. Peterson added that he didn't know if they would be able to remove the paint by game time tonight.
At Washington County, some profanity was spray-painted on the field and some of the sod on the field was also damaged, Washington High School Principal Paul Terrell said. A golf cart was also damaged by the vandals.
Terrell said it's unfortunate for both schools that a few individuals would do those kinds of things to try to stir up the teams.
He added that he feels like the schools have a good relationship with one another, and he wants to keep the focus on tonight's game, which he thinks will be a good game.
"It's just unfortunate because we're neighbors, and I want to get along like neighbors," Terrell said.
It's understandable that players and fans are more passionate about rivalry games than other games, and that passion should bring more focus to those games and add to the environment during the game.
When a handful of fans go too far - and in this case, a few fans on both sides did - then that only distracts from the players, the teams and the game itself.
Here's hoping tonight that fans prove that "friendly" and "rivalry" can go together.