Drew Oliver had all but given up on having an official opening game for his Hazen HIgh School football team.
But thanks to a few strange twists, the Highlanders are playing at Interlake tonight at 7 p.m. The agreement was reached yesterday at about 1 p.m.
“It’s very exciting, but it’s kind of a whirlwind,” said Oliver, a former Newport assistant now in his first year as head coach. “It’s kind of like a boxer trying to prepare in one day.”
Especially since Interlake features a spread offense not seen often in the Seamount League.
But it’s better than playing Seamount foe Mount Rainier in a scrimmage, which is what Hazen was originally faced with once Evergreen of White Center was forced to forfeit due to a lack of eligible players.
Interlake was scheduled to play Ingraham in a nonleague game tonight, but found out yesterday the Rams were going to have to forfeit for similar reasons. Ingraham AD Traci Huffer said this morning that Ingraham had hoped to postpone the game until Monday, but still only has 14 eligible players.
“It’s a risk management situation,” she said.
Upon getting the invitation to play Interlake, Oliver said his first call yesterday was to Mount Rainier coach Chris Paulson.
“I didn’t want to leave them high and dry,” he said.
Mount Rainier is receiving a league forfeit from Tyee. Paulson told Oliver he understood the opportunity and to go for it. Mount Rainier will now scrimmage against Hazen’s junior varsity tonight at 7 p.m. at Highline Stadium.
Huffer said Ingraham will have enough players for next Friday’s Metro opener against Cleveland.
The interesting part that has to be worked out now is how to handle Hazen’s record. Because the Evergreen game was a league game, it has to count as a forfeit in the league standings. So, Hazen gets a win. But tonight’s game is also being considered an official game. That means Hazen will technically have two decisions for Week One, at least as far as I can see it.
I don’t believe Ingraham will have to consider this a forfeit, now that Interlake has found a replacement game.
There was a similar situation in 2004, when Tyee forfeited a Seamount game to Kennedy, but the Lancers were able to fill the date with a nonlegue game against Cleveland, which I believe had a bye at the time. It was a two-win day for Kennedy, 2-0 over Tyee (for league purposes), and 57-0 over Cleveland.
It really kind of messes up the record-keeping. Kennedy technically won 10 games on the field that season before losing in the state playoffs to Ferndale to finish 10-1, but their record was reflected as 11-1 because of the forfeit. Weird, huh?
We’ll let you know how this all gets sorted out.