Published on October 31, 2014

Clay's top team will raise St. Vincent's cup

The best high school football team in Clay County will get an additional reward at the end of their season. Blain Claypool, the president of St. Vincent’s Medical Center Clay County, has established the St. Vincent’s Clay County Cup to be awarded to the school with the most wins — a total that includes playoff wins.

Claypool said the idea for the cup symbolizes the unifying spirit football brings to the county.

“Knowing we’re a brand new hospital, we wanted to find ways to support the school district and be a good community citizen,” Claypool said. “So we decided to incorporate football and schools overall. I called the school district and told them we want to establish a traveling trophy award in an inaugural year where we set up a competition across all of Clay County and come up with an overall champion based on total wins.”

Every week on game day every high school’s flag flies on the hospital’s campus; the flags of the teams that win will fly the rest of the week.

Claypool said the cup has been on display at seven different county stadiums. He said as the season has progressed more people have shown interest in the cup.

After the season is complete, Claypool said he will call the athletic director of the winning school to see if he can present the cup to the football team in a ceremony. The cup will remain on display at the school until next August. The winner’s flag will fly at the Clay County campus until the start of next football season.

Claypool said it has been rewarding to meet local fans.

“I’ve been to half the games and my marketing person has been to two other games,” Claypool said. “Some people are surprised that a hospital president is standing out there with the cup. It’s been fun. I’ve gotten to hear what is going on in our community.”

The cup has also been beneficial to the hospital.

“Name recognition is how it helps the hospital,” Claypool said. “Some people still don’t know where we are located. The cup also validates our promise that we’re going to be a good citizen.”

Claypool said the cup itself can last 16 years before the need to add another level.

“We’ll put the first plaque on it this year,” Claypool said. “The winner keeps the cup until Aug 1. We want to have a cup 20 years from now that people will want to have their name on it.”

The leaders for the cup, in a tight race, are Oakleaf High and Clay High, with Oakleaf holding a slight edge as of press time.

“I have a great picture of principal of Clay (Pete McCabe) and the Oakleaf principal (David Broskie) pulling on each side of the cup,” Claypool said. “I encourage people to see the cup at the hospital, where it is on display every day.”

– Brent Beaird

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