In some respects, the prep football season has returned to business as usual. Teams are playing in the fall, unlike a year ago, and a full slate of games are on the calendar.
But a new, non-COVID twist has changed the gridiron landscape. A shortage of game officials has brought a scenario where teams are not always playing beneath Friday night lights. For example, Enumclaw High just played on two consecutive Thursdays and now has a trio of Saturday games on its schedule (Sept. 25 at Franklin Pierce, Oct. 2 at Clover Park and Oct. 16 at Fife). In another oddity, the Oct. 2 contest against the Warriors will kick off at 3 p.m.
At White River, the football program is preparing for back-to-back-to-back (yes, three in a row) Thursday contests. The squad will host Fife on Sept. 23, travel to Steilacoom on Sept. 30 and be on the road against the Washington Patriots Oct. 7.
With officials spread thin, teams are making necessary accommodations.
Here’s a look at how the Plateau teams fared last week.
Thursday nights have been kind to the Enumclaw High football team.
After opening the season with a traditional Friday contest, which resulted in a nonleague loss, the Hornets have now registered back-to-back victories – both over league foes and both coming on the familiar turf at the Enumclaw Expo Center.
Most recently came a 60-14 pounding of the Washington Patriots, a lopsided affair that saw the Hornets race to a 46-0 league before taking their foot off the gas.
The Patriots came to Enumclaw Sept. 16 sporting a 2-0 record but the Hornets quickly showed they were not impressed, finding the end zone three times during the game’s first quarter. In fact, the Hornets cracked the scoreboard before the offense stepped on the field.
After forcing Washington to kick the ball away on the game’s first possession, Enumclaw’s Austin Paulson fielded the punt and motored in for a touchdown. Before the opening period ended, Emmit Otero had scored on a 15-yard run and quarterback Malcolm Harper had connected with Paulson for a 65-yard TD, pushing Enumclaw’s lead to 18-0.
The second quarter began with the Hornets’ Bo Dods intercepting a Patriot pass. The turnover was turned into another touchdown when Dylan Watterson scored on a 20-yard run. Shortly before the curtain closed on the first half of play, the Harper-to-Paulson combination struck again, this time on a 25-yard scoring toss.
It was a matter of seconds before Enumclaw’s lead ballooned, as Watterson took the second-half kickoff and scooted 80 yards for a TD. Scott Walgamot carried for a two-point conversion, pushing the EHS margin to 39-0. Five minutes later, Otero added a second rushing touchdown and, after Noah Seabrands tacked on the extra-point kick, Enumclaw was up 46-0.
The Hornets’ fourth-quarter scores came on a short rushing touchdown by Mason Taylor-Wells and a 35-yard TD carry by Tyler Overdorf.
Washington’s touchdowns came midway through the third quarter and early in the fourth, long after the outcome had been decided.
On a wind-blown night in Orting, the White River squad fell 32-20 in a South Puget Sound League 2A encounter.
A power outage hit the Plateau hours after the game ended, but the Hornets’ offensive firepower was in short supply from the 7 p.m. kickoff.
Neither team set the world on fire during the early stages, but the host Cardinals gradually inched away, leading 25-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
White River’s points originated with quarterback Tyson Campbell. The team’s first touchdown came when he connected with Payne Plaster on a 34-yard scoring toss; the second TD came on a 12-yard Campbell run and the final tally was a 26-yard touchdown pass from Campbell to Josh Poulin. The Hornets’ additional points came courtesy of a pair of Linkin Argo extra-point kicks.
Defensive highlights were provided by Logan Lisherness and Chase Campbell (15 and 12 tackles, respectively), an interception by Lyle Dolojan and a fumble recovery by Xavier Braun.