SPORTS: Port Angeles High School prepares for thousands of fans at big football game against archrival Sequim on Friday

PORT ANGELES — How big is Friday night’s football game between Port Angeles and Sequim?

Almost too big for Port Angeles’ Civic Field.

More than 3,000 fans are expected to show up for the high school football game pitting the North Olympic Peninsula’s two biggest rivals Friday at 7 p.m.

And with ticket demand exceeding the capacity of Civic Field’s covered grandstand, Port Angeles administrators have been forced to bring in more concessions, more seating and more ticket booths.

“We’re trying the best we can to satisfy the needs of both schools and both communities,” Port Angeles athletic director Dwayne Johnson said.

“We want to make it a community event on both sides.”

In order to accommodate the droves of Sequim Wolves fans expected to attend, 11 bleachers seating approximately 600 fans will be placed along the east sideline.

The area — normally populated by the opposing team’s players only for Roughrider home games — will be reserved for Wolves fans and roped off from the field.

There will be additional concessions, port-o-potties and a ticket gate placed on that side as well.

The covered grandstand on the west side, which seats approximately 2,500, will be reserved for Port Angeles Roughrider fans.

That includes the traditional “visitor” section on the north end (although those with special needs are welcome to sit in the grandstand).

It’s an arrangement Sequim athletic director Dave Ditlefsen said he doesn’t object to despite the loss of covered seating.

“I think it could be kind of a cool atmosphere over there to get our fans behind our bench, supporting our kids,” Ditlefsen said.

“We’re all hoping it’s not going to rain, but other than that I think it’s going to be a pretty cool setup.

“We will have a hard time trying to enforce that with our parents who might want to get out of the rain, but with our student body [an effort will be made].”

Tensions will undoubtedly be high Friday night.

Port Angeles and Sequim have met on the gridiron each year since 2004, but this is the first time in 20 years they will face off in a league game.

Adding to the drama, both come into the game undefeated in the Olympic League with the winner claiming an outright league crown.

Such a scenario has not occurred between the two schools since the new Port Angeles High School first opened its doors in 1953.

“This is the one everybody has been looking for,” Johnson said. “Everything is on line.

“We had about 200 seats available at homecoming [last Friday against winless Klahowya]. That was it.

“So the PA fans are going to fill up our side. I guarantee you that.”

The Roughriders are 8-0 for the first time since 1967, while Sequim (6-0 in league, 7-1 overall) is attempting to win its sixth league title in seven years.

“I know a dozen people who usually don’t go to high school football games who are going to watch this one,” Ditlefsen said.

“I don’t think the travel is going to deter our fans from wanting to see this game. I would expect at least the same size crowd that we would get at a home game. I’m estimating we’ll probably have 1,000 to 1,200 [fans].”

Various weather reports forecast possible rain showers on Friday. Thus, covered seats may be in even higher demand than normal.

“If they want to sit there, they can,” Johnson said, “but our point is we want to have separation of the fans like we do when we go to [Sequim].”

Even if it does rain, the field should not be too much of an issue, according to Corey Delikat, Port Angeles parks and streets superintendent.

Despite the abnormally large amount of use the field has seen this fall — Peninsula College’s soccer teams have used it for games and practices since its on-campus artificial turf field is still under construction — it is in decent shape for late October.

“It’s been a great October, because really we got more rain in September than we did in October,” Delikat said.

“Everybody has been able to practice and do what they needed to do. We’re wet right now. We’re probably not going to mow this week.

“We have soccer games [Tuesday] and [Wednesday], and then we’ll just try and get everything painted by Friday.”

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.

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