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  • Ednold

Willamette 10/11/19

Updated: Jun 27, 2020


Before we arrive at this week’s game I feel it is necessary to address the comments of a few of my more loyal readers and their efforts to cast aspersions regarding my abilities as a cowboy. The record will show that few, if any, newborn calves ever got by me on their way to the chute. And when the day comes when cattle-shooing is finally recognized as the consummate test of cowboy skill that it so clearly is, I may yet end up with a plaque somewhere. To the rest of you, I apologize for taking up your valuable time setting the record straight.


With that ado concluded, I can happily report that we spent this Friday evening at Willamette High School in Eugene watching the Wolverines take on the Ridgeview Ravens of Redmond. Willamette, the one comprehensive high school within the Bethel School District, is also the one major public high school in the city not within the Eugene School District. The Bethel School District is very large, encompassing parts of west Eugene and many square miles of rural communities to the northwest of the city. According to the district map, it even includes a large portion of Fern Ridge Reservoir for some reason. I would have thought the fish would have their own school district. (Maybe some of our younger readers will appreciate that one).


Willamette’s most influential alum (though Quintin Mikell, a special teams specialist with the Philadelphia Eagles several years ago deserves a mention) is blues legend Curtis Salgado: The man without whom the Blues Brothers would never have existed. But without any Salgado music readily available, our road tunes for this trip were provided by his best bud and onetime bandmate Robert Cray, whose music is plentiful in the Ednold household. By the time we pulled into the high school parking lot I felt like my best friend had just moved in with Mrs. Ednold and I was standing unshod and shirtless on the front lawn with nothing but the keys to my Bucket and an empty wallet. Mr. Cray can make you feel that. In fact, if I hadn’t spent a recent Saturday night singing backup with Tasteful Nudies I’d have said Cray was the best guitarist Tacoma has ever produced.


Parking for Willamette games is off of Echo Hollow Road, which runs north-south between the Pape Beltline and Highway 99. It’s not what you might call an open-concept parking arrangement, making entry and exit a challenge. Willamette (or Wil-Hi, as they call themselves) opened in 1949 as Eugene’s second major public high school after the original Eugene High, but it has obviously been renovated since because it has a modern look to it, at least from the outside. From the parking lot follow the path east toward the main grandstand where, just inside the gate, the ticket lady will take your $8 per adult, stamp your hand and give you a program.


Main (west) grandstand

Visitors' (east) seating

The field is artificial turf surrounded by a rubber asphalt track. As an interesting side-note, Willamette hosted the first girls state track and field championships here in 1964, and there is a plaque on the side of the concession building commemorating that event. The old grandstand having burned to the ground in 2003, a new beautiful metal stand was built soon after. The two outer seating sections are aluminum bleachers but the middle section consists of seats with backs and armrests; the first I have seen at a high school stadium. Restrooms are behind the stadium. Across the field to the east, the visitors’ section is a large uncovered aluminum structure. The concessions are to the north of the main grandstand. After my mid-game meal I can still say that I’ve never eaten a bad corn dog in my life. Mrs. Ednold went with the hot dog with everything on it. Everything. I don’t even know what all was on that thing. And I was really upset when she wasn’t able to eat the whole thing and I had to help her finish it off, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay to have a partner with me on my little journeys. Later in the game when the chill started to set in, the popcorn tasted… like popcorn. And the coffee was… hot.



For the fourth week in a row we were present for a homecoming game. And I’ve just hired Gordon Liddy as a consultant. (That was for our older readership. There’s a little something for everyone here at CPHC). The homecoming vibe was pretty weak, but that doesn’t mean the atmosphere wasn’t a lot of fun. For one thing, the Wolverine band is good. And they march. They’re a marching band and they performed on the field before the game and again at halftime and marched around making all kinds of designs on the field that I couldn’t make out from my low vantage point, but were still impressive. They had three or four people playing giant xylophones. I’ve seen colleges, and attended colleges, that weren’t nearly as committed to their band as Willamette is. The burgundy and black uniforms are impeccable, down to the white plumes on the hats, and there is a level of professionalism to the whole enterprise. I even liked the flag twirlers. And I don’t really like flag twirlers.



It was a late-arriving crowd, but eventually it was large and vocal and the student section was totally into it. The PA announcer was enthusiastic and had a personality, which always helps. Then we got to witness the tradition of the “Funky Chicken” song between the third and fourth quarters, led by the cheerleaders with massive support from the crowd. I guess it’s kind of like a seventh-inning stretch for a football game, with a different song. Except this song didn’t stop when play resumed; it kept going well into the fourth quarter.

Willamette competes in the Northern Division of 5A-Special District 2 (while North Eugene, which is north of Willamette, for some reason plays in the Southern Division). They came into this game on a roll, having won their last three games after losing their first two. The Ravens had won only once this season and most of those losses hadn’t been very close. So I was a little surprised at how evenly the teams were matched. The Wolverines ended up leading at one point 33-7, but that score wasn’t indicative of how close the game actually was. Even the final score of 33-21 is a little misleading. Had just a few plays gone differently, The Ravens could have won this game. They definitely have the best running back we’ve seen all season, and little #4 ran up and down the field all night. He must have racked up hundreds of yards and was virtually unstoppable. Except by his own coach who, for reasons unknown, liked to mix in some passing plays that were almost always unsuccessful. The Wolverines, on the other hand, were more inconsistent but had some weapons of their own and used their passing game for several big plays against a sub-par Raven secondary.



By the time it was all over the Wolverines had crowned a new homecoming king and queen, achieved their first four-game winning streak in over ten years, and Mrs. Ednold and I had thoroughly enjoyed a chilly evening of football under a harvest moon in northwest Eugene. Willamette knows how to put on a high school football game.

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6 comentários


Amy Stewart-Mailhiot
Amy Stewart-Mailhiot
01 de nov. de 2019

I'm not going to chime in on your cowboy creds, as I have my own embarrassing stories on that front. I did love the reference to the Tasteful Nudies and agree that Mrs. E is a saint.

Curtir

Amy Stewart-Mailhiot
Amy Stewart-Mailhiot
01 de nov. de 2019

Not gonna chime in on your cowboy creds...I have none and I have embarrassing stories of my own to live down on that front. Did love the reference to the Tasteful Nudies, though. And I second that Mrs. E is trouper...maybe a saint.

Curtir

tass.morrison
14 de out. de 2019

Another interesting, informative & humorous report! Loved hearing about the Willamette marching band-having done that, I know the practice & discipline it takes to be good at it. I also share your deep appreciation for Larry Mahan & corn dogs (slathered in mustard, preferably...the corn dogs, I mean. Looking forward to next week’s report!

Curtir

Adam Stewart
Adam Stewart
13 de out. de 2019

Another great report, Ednold, but you seem a little sensitive regarding your cowboy skills. Did someone question you bonafides?

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gilromastew
gilromastew
13 de out. de 2019

Ednold, you've done it again! I do remember you shooing those cows around. I thought you were a natural, but we moved.........I hope you and Mrs. Ednold can manage to keep warm and dry at the ballgames. Aluminum bleachers could get a little cold! Can't wait to see where you'll be next week.

Curtir
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