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Todd Murray | The Dominion Post | September 22, 2016

Middle-schooler's letter a winner with WVU quarterback Howard

Morgantown, WV -- Getting called to the principal's office typically isn't a good sign for a student. Sixth-grader William Tennant sure didn't mind his trip to Mountaineer Middle School Principal Crystal Nantz's office last Friday, though.

That's where he discovered WVU senior quarterback Skyler Howard waiting for him.

Howard used part of his day off from practice during the Mountaineers' bye week to visit with Tennant.

Tennant wrote Howard a letter last school year as part of a class assignment at Cheat Lake Elementary.

"Skyler was responding to that letter and wrote him a letter back and brought him a couple of gifts," Nantz said.

Nobody at Mountaineer Middle knew Howard was coming. In fact, Howard first ventured out to Cheat Lake Elementary before learning the location of Tennant's new school.

"The young man was very excited to meet him," Nantz said. "He shook hands with him. You could tell he was overwhelmed that Skyler was here to see him."

The two chatted about school and flag football and the positions Tennant played. They took a picture together before the 15-minute meeting ended.

Howard's visit also thrilled Nantz, who told Howard what a great opportunity it was to reinforce to students the importance of writing.

Writing letters is a big part of the writing curriculum at Mountaineer Middle, Nantz said. In class projects, students write to famous people and people in the community who have touched their lives, Nantz said.

In today's text-and-email environment, letter writing has become a lost art.

"Kids don't do it a lot, and it's definitely a trait they need with writing letters and sending out information," Nantz said.

Nantz admits she's not the biggest sports fan in Morgantown, but she'll follow Howard and the Mountaineers the rest of the season.

"It's important to let everybody else know that they are doing good things," she said.

Howard and his Mountaineers (2-0) return to action against BYU (1-2), at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, in Landover, Md.

Howard is coming off a 389-yard, five-touchdown performance in WVU's 38-21 victory against Youngstown State, on Sept. 10.

That outing came a week after Howard suffered a rib strain in the season-opening win, over Missouri.

So the bye week arrived at a good time for Howard.

"I used the off week for a lot of mental reps and to get healthy," he said. "I feel good. No limitations."

WVU coach Dana Holgorsen was encouraged by Howard's intensity in Sunday's practice.

"He continues to heal up," Holgorsen said. "He came back and was ripping it around pretty good, so he'll be full-go moving forward."

The Mountaineers face a BYU defense that ranks fifth nationally in turnovers gained (9).

Six of the turnovers have been interceptions.

However, WVU receiver Ka'Raun White said Tuesday he believes the Mountaineers should have an advantage in the passing game with their speed.

"The corners, I don't think they can run with us," White said. "I mean, they look solid, but they don't look like they can keep up."

Howard said he has been impressed with the BYU defense's tenacity.

"They play extremely hard," he said. "They fly around. They do a lot of stuff you don't see every day. We'll take what they give us."

This article was written by Todd Murray from The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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