JUST WHEN you are starting to wonder if there is any good news left in the world — and on the heels of yet another example of adults behaving badly with innocent children standing by watching — you read a story like the one Wednesday about the Sharon and Farrell high school football teams.

The more than 100 players got together Tuesday to do something good for their communities — cleaning up other people’s mess.

The young men hit the streets to pick up junk, to clear litter and to make their communities better places.

They did the work as a team. They gave up part of their day because it was important. And they gathered together as a group of responsible and caring young people.

There are many reasons to think this is something to admire.

First of all, Sharon and Farrell are rivals. They compete with spirit and intensity on the football field.

And both have dedicated and intense fan bases — and histories as serious competitors.

But they set aside those battle lines on this day. They knew that there was a message to send. They knew how important it was that their cities stay clean and the damage blight and trash do to neighborhoods. And they wanted to help.

They united as a group of young men who wanted to give back.

And they did — significantly.

But by far the most important statements that day came from the seniors and leaders on both teams.

They knew that while the work they were doing was important, there was an even bigger purpose.

They were there to be role models for their younger team members and their fellow classmates.

How about that. Young men who understand already how you go from being a teenager to a young adult.

The way to teach teens and others about responsibility and character is not just showing them the lessons on a page.

Modeling the best behavior, the right thoughts and actions — that is how you make an impression that sticks. And while parents have an important role in those lessons, older classmates and those they look up to are critical, too.

These young men modeled behavior that could be a lesson for some of the adults who are walking around the world today — and specifically some of those we read about seemingly regularly now who don’t know how to behave on the sidelines of sporting events.

The cities of Farrell and Sharon should be proud of the athletic prowess of these young men and the victories they have brought home to their alma maters.

But they should be much more impressed by the class these young men showed this week.

It makes us feel pretty good about the hands in which we will leave this community — and this country — someday.

And kudos to their coaches and school personnel, too.

Someone is teaching a whole lot more than football at both these schools.

Well done.