PORT ANGELES — The era of the multi-sport stadium is over for the professionals, but Civic Field will continue to house baseball, football and soccer events for the foreseeable future.
A milestone of sorts was acheived in the NFL in September when the Oakland Raiders played the final game on an Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum playing surface that included much of the Oakland Athletics baseball diamond.
The era of cookie-cutter multipurpose stadiums — venues that once included almost half the NFL teams — ended with that contest as the A’s season wrapped and the Raiders will depart the Bay Area for Las Vegas next season.
There’s no fancy new stadium awaiting the Port Angeles Roughriders, who will face the rival Sequim Wolves tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the annual Rainshadow Rumble on a Civic Field surface that includes much of the venue’s baseball diamond.
And with rainy weather forecast, the baseball diamond end (the north end of the field) could play a significant role in the contest.
“Yes and no, and usually depending on the weather,” Sequim coach Erik Wiker said. “If the weather is bad it turns into a pool over there just like North Mason before they switched to turf. It was a mud pie between the hashes there and it changes a lot of the game.
“If the weather is bad it changes it, but I tell the kids it changes it for everybody. Everybody has to play on it, it doesn’t just rain on our half. Game plan-wise, no. Some years it’s been a big old pile and we just run it because it’s sloppy.”
Wiker said he doesn’t make a big deal about playing surfaces.
“I try not to make it an issue with the team to give them anything to whine about,” Wiker said. “Our field [in Sequim] is awesome as you know and everybody comes over here and worries about playing on grass.”
And Port Angeles head coach Troy Mann said they don’t focus on the dirt end of the field.
“Nah, we don’t get that far into the details,” Mann said. “I have a hard enough time getting my boys to be in the right position to play cover 2 defensively.”
The impact is felt more on the post-game laundry pile than on the field.
“The [players] don’t like getting tackled in it, it gets them all dirty,” Mann said. “But we’ve never really discussed over the years. Even when we were coaching in little league we didn’t discuss it.”
Mann said the weather will be the biggest factor in how the surface plays tonight.
“Oh, absolutley. It will slow us down and we will have to be able to control the ball,” Mann said. “We have had some fumble issues and the rain will increase that probability, so ball protection will be key and a focus for us. Some positive bounces would be good, too.”
Sequim quarterback Taig Wiker has played at Civic Field since he was in little league and isn’t worried about the surface, either.
“No problem, I think we will just go play football,” Wiker said. “It doesn’t matter where we play. Other teams in the league worry about where they play, but we don’t. We just go play football.”
But he did admit getting dragged down on the diamond doesn’t always feel the best.
“Oh, it might [hurt], but you just have to be a dog about it, not worry about it and just play football,” Wiker said.
Sequim (3-1, 5-1) and Port Angeles (0-3, 0-6) are each coming off their best performances of the season — the Wolves turning a close contest with Olympic into a 37-14 rout while the Riders played tough defensively in a 24-6 loss to Bremerton.
Port Angeles holds a 52-24-6 record in games played since 1928, but an asterisk is necessary.
The Wolves and Roughriders resumed the rivalry in 2004 after taking a 13-year break.
Since the reboot, results have been one-sided in the other direction with the Wolves holding an 11-4 record with four straight Rumble victories, including last year’s 46-6 triumph in Sequim.
The pick: The Wolves move closer to clinching a district playoff berth with a win over their rivals.
• Concrete at Port Townsend (Memorial Field), 6:30 p.m.
The pick: Port Townsend
• Forks at Olympic (Silverdale Stadium), 6:30 p.m.
The pick: Forks
• Lake Quinault at Clallam Bay, 7 p.m.
The pick: Clallam Bay
• Lummi at Crescent, 2 p.m.
The pick: Crescent
• Chimacum at Bellevue Christian (Sammamish High School), 5 p.m.
The pick: Bellevue Christian
Last Week: 6-1
Season to date: 36-4.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]