You can always count on a boisterous and loud home crowd for Friday Night Lights at Spartan Stadium, and that was certainly the case for the Forks-Sequim game last Friday.
“It’s a fantastic atmosphere,” new Spartans head coach Trevor Highfield said. “The fan base is very supportive and football games are a huge community event.”
Highfield said he understands the role high school athletics plays in the town’s culture.
“Part of the responsibility of putting together the program is to put a high quality of play out there on the field,” Highfield said.
The loud crowd does have its pluses and minuses for the Forks football team.
So Highfield made the switch to the opposite sideline from the Spartan Stadium bleachers.
He has some reasons why.
“We just really want our kids to be locked in and focused in on what we are doing and our jobs,” Highfield said. “Being on the far side of the field provides a more controlled atmosphere. It’s easier to communicate, easier to think and there are less distractions. We have a great fan base that can be loud when the other team is on offense and that can impact how we communicate with our players.”
This is one aspect of his program Highfield can control.
The former junior college coach became used to managing pretty much every aspect of his Louisburg College squads. Highfield is adjusting to the amount of control he has had to relinquish while coaching high school kids.
He mentioned a couple of areas he can’t manage as completely as he did at the junior college level before Forks’ first road trip to a preseason jamboree in Poulsbo.
“Not being able to control team meals and not knowing whether the kids had eaten properly or hydrated properly,” Highfield said.
“And we never would travel three hours on a bus on game day, but that’s routine here. We would have a hotel for the night before, conduct bed checks and know where they are. Control their hydration, their rest and their routines.”
Chimacum’s new unis
The Chimacum Cowboys football squad showed off some new home uniforms in their game against Tenino Friday night. The Cowboys switched from a basic royal blue uniform to a black jersey and black pants with blue trim, cowboy logos on their sleeves and pants and numbers with blue drop shadows. Even the new helmets are black rather than the traditional Cowboys’ royal blue.
Coach Chris Storm said that not only are the new uniforms stylish, they’re actually lighter and cooler — as in temperatures — for the players. They’re looking good and feeling good in Chimacum.
Bruins ‘going full bore’
Good to see Clallam Bay football return in six-man form. The Bruins pounded Muckleshoot 68-20 in a game that saw Clallam Bay play six-man on offense and eight-man on defense.
New head coach Aaron Burdette said he’s looking at having 14 players this season and had 12 suited up for last Friday’s game.
“Realistically, we are going full bore on six-man football because that’s going to be the wave of the future for these smaller communities,” Burdette said.
“It’s safer and great for these small schools. When you can only get 10 or 11 kids out for the team and you face a school with 25 or 30 kids, that’s not an equal matchup.
“We are looking pretty good for the future. We will lose some seniors this year, but we had some young guys really step it up last night. The future looks good.”
18-12 in 8-man?
The biggest surprise of the week was the 18-12 score of the Quilcene-Crescent game. Keep in mind, throwing out their loss in the state semifinal against eventual champion Odessa last year, Quilcene had averaged 56.8 points a game over its past 20 games, and that’s with a coach Trey Beathard, who goes out of his way not to roll up scores.
And this was 8-man football, which does not lend itself to low-scoring games. A typical 8-man game has both teams combining for 70 or more points. A score of 18-12 is almost unheard of.
The Rangers graduated a couple of big players from last year — Olin Reynolds and Robert Comstock III — but they still have a lot of weapons in Bishop Budnek and Holdem Elkins and scored 58 in their season opener.
The other possibility is that Crescent’s defense is that good, despite losing all-state performer Noah Leonard to graduation and starting quarterback and defensive standout Eric Emery for much of this season to a knee injury.