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Days Creek 10/15/21


This week Mrs. Ednold and I headed south and took exit 99 off of the big road, where there’s a big casino. I can’t say I’m not a gambler, but my idea of gambling is seeing how far past E I can drain the gas tank before I fill up. Now THAT is exciting! But Mrs. Ednold and I aren’t the casino type, so we kept on through Canyonville to Douglas County Highway 1 and took a left to follow the South Umpqua River up into the hills. About ten minutes later we rolled into the village of Days Creek. Days Creek consists of a few hundred people, a general store, and a school. The creek that enters the river at that spot was named for the Day brothers, Patrick and George, who settled in the area in 1851, and Days Creek post office was established in 1878.

We drove down the driveway and around the school parking lot looking for the football field. We saw some cow pastures and a baseball field, but nothing looking like a place to play football. So we continued on around to the back of the school. Still no sign of a football field, but there were several people bustling around and a small table set up to serve as a ticket booth. That had to be the place, but there was still no field in sight. I felt bad parking The Bucket in a space that was marked for staff use only, but all the spaces were empty, which was strange for early on a Friday afternoon, and I wasn’t exactly sure where else to go. I got out and, as I was walking toward the couple at the ticket table, things started to make more sense. A few cars were parked beyond the table at the edge of a cliff, and it appeared that the field must be beyond the cars, at the bottom of that cliff.

I gave the nice couple at the table $8 to get both of us into the game, grabbed a program, and asked the gentleman to make sure that price included a parking space at the edge of the cliff. It did, so I got back in the bucket and started driving toward the abyss. For just a second I think Mrs. Ednold thought I was having a Thelma and Louise moment, but I stopped The Bucket in a prime spot a few feet short of the cliff edge and I’m sure we were the envy of many of the people who arrived a little later. Our early arrival had been an advantage when it came to choosing a parking space, but otherwise we may as well have been late: Days Creek’s opponent for this game, Gold Beach, had had a bus break-down and still hadn’t arrived by the time we got there.


After a while the Panthers of Gold Beach arrived in a Camas Valley school bus, but the game would be postponed for a half hour to give them time to suit up and run through some pre-game drills, which gave me some extra time to explore the grounds. I found that access to the playing field was via a narrow, rocky dirt road at the far end of the parking area. A few brave drivers had driven down the road and parked near the field, but even if The Bucket had made it down I wasn’t confident that it would make it back up that road, so that wasn’t an option for us. The field itself is right on the north bank of the South Umpqua River, close enough that when you’re sitting in the home side bleachers you can hear the river gurgling behind you. The field had been hacked out of the low spot between the river and the school on the terrace above. It’s a unique setting for a football field and is literally breathtaking from the top of the cliff.

The press box with the home (west) stands behind

With our parking spot up above we had lots of options for viewing the game. We could sit in the car and watch or do as some others had done and get out and set up a camp chair next to the car, or sit in the bed of pickup if we had one, or find a place in the small bleachers set up on the edge of the cliff, or walk down the road and either sit in the bleachers below or just stand and watch from the sidelines, which seemed to be the most popular choice. There are no lights at the field, hence the afternoon start time, and since the football gods had blessed us with another warm, sunny day we spent most of the game down on the home side of the field in the shade with the river at our back.

East (away) seating

Stands at the top of the hill

Besides the setting, the best part of this game was the personality of the PA announcer. He was obviously very familiar with the team and the players and when announcing the home team before the game he had a nickname for each player. I don’t remember them all, but my favorite was was #10, who is known as “The Freak from The Creek”. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a better one. The Wolves compete in the Central Division of 1A Special District 1, an 8-man league. They were coming into the game winless at 0-4, and their opponents from Gold Beach were 3-2.

It looked like the Wolves were ready to pull the upset when they scored in the first quarter to take a 6-0 lead, but by the middle of the third quarter they'd given up 46 straight points to the Panthers and the clock ran continuously after that. In the final quarter the Wolves started using their two huge, bruising linemen as running backs and the wolves fans went crazy, despite the lopsided score. For everyone involved, enjoying the game was much more important than who was winning. That’s not a feeling you get at games at most larger schools and, as we’ve seen before at other 1A games, the atmosphere was very casual. It was fun listening to the banter between the players, fans, coaches and even referees. There was no band and, though the Gold Beach contingent brought their cheerleaders with them, the Wolves didn’t have any. But that didn’t stop impromptu cheers from breaking out on the sideline from time to time.


And in the middle of all of that we got to see another homecoming ceremony, with the princes and princesses riding on the back of a truck followed by others holding banners for each of the four classes. I pointed out to Mrs. Ednold that she could save herself a climb back uphill if she could find a way to stow away on the truck as it passed by, but she declined the opportunity. The crowns and sashes were conferred on the field, pictures were taken, the truck loaded back up, and off they went. It was an understated ceremony that served its purpose well and also, for some reason, made me hungry. Back at the top of the hill the ladies at the concession stand had a bowl of Frito pie (Fritos, chili, cheese) that took care of that, and I was able to walk back down and enjoy the rest of the game on a full stomach.

Game over, we trudged back up the hill and climbed into The Bucket. And you can bet that Mrs. Ednold looked more than once to make sure I was in reverse before I touched the gas pedal. A ride down that cliff would have ruined an otherwise wonderful afternoon.



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