PORT ANGELES — The big game just got a little bigger.
Not only will Friday night’s showdown between Port Angeles and Sequim be played out in front of thousands at Civic Field.
After both teams found its way into The Associated Press Class 2A state football rankings Wednesday, it will garner statewide attention as well.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere, and I want the kids to soak it in and enjoy it,” Sequim coach Erik Wiker said Wednesday.
“It’s a fun game no matter what. They are going to be in a big, big game, and it’s going to be great.”
The Port Angeles Roughriders (6-0 in league, 8-0 overall) were ranked in the 2A top 10 for the second straight week, climbing to No. 7 after three teams above them lost last week.
The Sequim Wolves (6-0, 7-1) benefitted from those losses as well, receiving their first 2A state ranking of the season at No. 10.
“I don’t know if it’s ever been to this level [with PA-Sequim],” first-year Port Angeles head coach Tom Wahl said. “So this has just got to be incredibly exciting for [the players]. And I’m sensing that with them.”
A crowd of more than 3,000 is expected to attend Friday night’s game, which starts at 7 p.m. in Civic.
The teams will face off for an outright Olympic League title for the first time since the new Port Angeles High School opened its doors in 1953.
It is the first time the two have played a league football game since 1990. The last six meetings in 2004-09 were all nonleague affairs.
“It will be exciting playing in front of those people,” Wiker said, “but we want to make sure the kids realize it’s game and we’re here to play a game.”
The Wolves — winners of league titles five of the past six seasons — have played some games comparable in terms of stakes in recent seasons.
The Riders, meanwhile, are coming off three straight losing campaigns ending with their first 0-10 showing in school history in ’09.
Still, Wahl isn’t worried about the moment being too big for his players.
“I believe they will be excited. They seem to show a lot of excitement about it,” Wahl said.
“When they get there and realize that, ‘Wow, this place is packed,’ I hope they will sense what I’ve tried to share with them that, ‘This is your chance to really have fun.
“‘This is going to be a tough game and this is a chance to find out what you’re made of and just enjoy the experience.'”
There will be a special seating arrangement for Friday night’s game.
Port Angeles administrators have worked to bring in additional bleachers on the east sideline seating 600 fans. That area will be reserved for Sequim fans only, with a ticket gate, concessions and portable toilets also in the area.
The entire field will be roped off, including around the end zones, to deal with possible crowd overflow.
The covered grandstand (capacity 2,500) on the west side will be reserved for Port Angeles fans. Those with special needs can also sit in the grandstand area.
Fans are strongly encouraged to arrive early and with correct change, so the line moves swiftly.
Tickets cost $6 for adults and students without ASB cards, $4 for visiting students, $4 for middle school students (parental supervision required), $2 for adults 60 and older and $2 for elementary students.There will be no advanced sales. Ticket gates open at 5:30 p.m.