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  • Ednold

Century 11/1/19

For our final game of the regular season before the playoffs start we headed to Hillsboro to watch the Century Jaguars host fellow 6A Special District 3 members the Sherwood Bowmen. Again, Mrs. Ednold would be staying home. I could say she wears many hats, but in reality she wears many shoes. Lots of different shoes. And this night she had been called on to wear something other than her football-watching shoes. But my mom and pop and big bro had volunteered to keep me company on the chilly Century bleachers, and with Ma and Pa intermittently dozing as I drove, we crawled through the Friday afternoon rush-hour traffic. Eschewing the dullness of the more popular Sunset Highway, we made our way west on old Highway 8. This main east-west thoroughfare through Hillsboro, also known as the TV (Tualatin Valley) Highway, used to be an actual highway. I used to travel it frequently and in those days it was still an actual highway in the less populated spots between cities. These days there are no spots between cities. The whole thing, starting in Beaverton and heading west, is populated the entire way and the term “highway” is a complete misnomer. TV Boulevard may be more accurate. So the crawl continued.

But we arrived right on time to find big bro waiting for us in the parking lot. With a dead battery. No problem. We’ll jump that sucker and have it humming in a minute. All we have to do is pop this hood open and… All we have to do is… All we… Where’s the freaking…? Anybody know how to pop this hood open? The trouble, you see, is that I’d left The Bucket at home to provide a more comfortable riding experience for mom and dad. I had Mrs. Ednold’s car and it’s one of those fancy foreign things, and foreigners like to hide the hood latch in the last place you would ever look for it. We fought and won two world wars so that Germans could still bury the hood latch out of sight? Why do we allow this? So we decided we’d figure it out later and headed into the game.

Century, built in 1997, was the third public high school in Hillsboro, made necessary by the explosion of the Silicon Forest. Why is it called Century? Excellent question. One which big bro, who has spent most of his adult life here, was unable to answer. That’s the difference between he and I. If someone had told me in 1997 that they wanted to name this school Century my first question would have been “why? Why not East Hillsboro? Why not Mid-Washington County HS? Which century are you referring to? Was one of the founding fathers a Mr. Century?” I’m the type of person who needs a logical explanation for these things but as of now I don’t have an answer.

The city of Hillsboro has a couple of really nice sports facilities in Hare Field, owned by the school district, and Hillsboro Stadium, owned by the city, that have been used as home fields by the schools in town. But facilities at the schools themselves have lagged behind those of neighboring districts. The lack of all-weather turf has created practice-scheduling nightmares over the years as multiple sports teams as well as bands have competed for scarce time on any surface that’s not ankle-deep in mud by mid-October. But that has all changed recently thanks to my big brother. As a Hillsboro School District employee (I believe his official title is King, or Tsar, or something like that) he personally cut a check so that a beautiful new artificial turf and lights could be installed at Century just in time for the start of this season. I felt like walking around telling people that I was directly responsible for them all being able to watch this game on this field under these lights and that I could revoke that privilege at any time for any reason. But I didn’t. Magnanimous Restraint is my middle name. Not really. But the papers have been filed and you can start calling me that if you’d like.

Home (west) grandstands

Visitors' (east) seating

Century has nailed the parking thing. There is one big lot off of Century Blvd. that is easy to get into and out of and doesn’t have a bunch of obstacles to dodge in the middle of it. Just one big slab of blacktop. You’ll find the ticket booth at the eastern edge of the parking lot, where $6 will get an adult in the gate with a program. The small concession stand serving run-of-the-mill football snacks is just to the right as you enter. I was a little disappointed that my baked potato idea hadn't made its way here yet, but we sampled the hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and coffee and I didn’t hear a single complaint. To the left are the home bleachers and across to the east the visitors have their own small set of bleachers. Neither side is covered, or quite big enough, and it’s all butt-numbing aluminum, and compared to other 6A schools the seating is decidedly unimpressive. But Century has their own home field now on their own campus, and these little details can be upgraded down the road. One bonus of this stadium, located just south of the Hillsboro Airport, is the small-jet traffic coming and going right over your head throughout the game. It’s relatively quiet and provides a little extra entertainment. At least for me.

Introduction of the senior players.

I’m happy that Century didn’t feel the need to go overboard for us. A quite simple Senior Night ceremony kicked off the evening with each of the senior players being presented and entering the field through a tunnel of supporters. With Century having held their homecoming in September there would be no homecoming ceremony. There would just be a regular old football game with a modest little number by the band at halftime. And if you believe that you’ve never been to Century, have you? Good golly! I’m almost at a loss to describe the show put on by the Century band. They had numbers: There were probably 200 students involved. The show was so big and there was so much going on it was hard to take it all in. They were powerful. They were precise. They were perfect. You know those little squeaks from the woodwinds and honks from the brass that you come to expect from high school bands? Not here. That one guy who can’t quite get in step with everyone else? That one girl who’s always a fraction of a beat behind? Huh-uh. They were marching. They were dancing. And then they were… marching and dancing around in the dark in their electric-light uniforms? Why, yes, they were. I can’t say I was a fan of their choice in music. It was some kind of modern Sondheim-esque type of thing, and I prefer something more melodic. But the sheer power and size and precision were amazing and I can’t imagine the hours of work that each individual must have put into making that routine flawless. Well done, Jag Band.

The Jaguar football players may have prepared just as hard as the band, but their results haven’t been quite as spectacular. They came into this game winless in league competition while their opponents, Sherwood, have yet to lose in that same league. Century had their work cut out for them and didn’t get off to a strong start, trailing 28-0 at halftime. By the end of halftime big bro had found a youtube video on his phone showing us where we could find the hood latch in my car and we took a few minutes early in the third quarter to get his car started. I found that if I simply dislocated my shoulder and hyperextended my elbow the latch was within easy reach. Car started and shoulder popped back into place, he took off and left the three of us to root the Jags on to, if not victory, at least respectability.

Which we did. While the band was mesmerizing us the Jaguar coaches must have been imparting some wisdom to their players because they came out and played a very competitive second half. They had identified the Bowmen secondary as the weak spot in their defense and passed on almost every down in the second half with a lot of success. Their quarterback has a strong, accurate arm and a quick release that helped make up for the almost complete lack of any running game. Sherwood is big, and deep, and well-coached. But the Jags played them almost to a draw after halftime and showed a lot of toughness once they got going. I think the action was a lot more exciting, and the Jags are a lot better, than the 49-13 final score might suggest and, since the world and his wife are included in the playoffs these days, the Jaguars will get a chance next week to prove me right.

What started as a beautiful autumn evening had turned a little cold by the end and the Jaguars hadn’t quite gotten the job done on the field, but if their seniors had to lose their final home game I’m happy for them that they got to do it on a home field that’s really a home field. Back on the road, the 9:30 traffic proved a great improvement over the 5:30 traffic and the highway came a little closer to living up to its name.

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Nov 03, 2019

Hey Ednold, well said......except the "Magnanimous Restraint" bit. That was right up there with "cow-shooing." Still, I enjoyed your account, right down to the "butt-numbing" aluminum part. Made me feel like I was right there.


Nov 03, 2019

Hi Ednold, can't tell you how much I enjoyed your blog this week........maybe because I was there. You really have a way with words! So glad you took after your dad in that regards.

Next week starts the playoffs. Can't wait.

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