Wolves-Bulldogs showdown set for Friday

It's going to be a wild, wild, noisy, loud scene in Belfair Friday night when the North Mason Bulldogs host the Sequim Wolves in a battle for first place in the Olympic/Nisqually League football standings.

The Bulldogs have been waiting for this one for a year and they have a 6-0 record to welcome the 5-1 Wolves in what should be a battle royal.

Coach Erik Wiker's kids can score from anywhere and coach Phil Pugh's Bulldogs have a variety of weapons, so it could be a high-scoring game on the grass at North Mason High.

Field conditions could be nasty as rain is forecast for midweek, but that won't bother Sequim as they want the league crown and another playoff berth.

Fans planning to attend should be aware that the highway between Gorst and Belfair is really clogged up between 3:30-6 p.m. My advice would be to drive around Hood Canal, take the cutoff to Union just past Hoodsport and go in the "back way" to Belfair. Might be a little longer, but congestion would be less. No covered seating on either side of the field.

Go Wolves, say about 35-14 ....

Rider roundup

In high school sports, schools can elect to "opt up", that is, going from one classification up to another.

I firmly believe Port Angeles should "opt down" to another classification based on its lack of students turning out for football.

Why do I say, "opt down"?

Let me explain: As we told you last month, Port Angeles is in the OWL League, the conference that was formed two years ago between four 3A schools in the Olympia area: Capital, Yelm, North Thurston and Timberline and four schools in the former Olympic League, Port Angeles, Olympic, Bremerton and North Kitsap.

Although new classifications won't be made until December for 2010-2012, already the four Olympia area schools are reportedly going to be in the expanded Narrows League.

That would leave P.A., N.K., Oly. and Bremerton out in the so-called cold again, maybe having to play each other twice like they did four years ago.

Classifications in our state are thus: Seventeen percent of the state's largest schools (1,280 students and above) are 4A, the next 17 percent 3A, then 2A and 1A and on down.

Right now, Port Angeles is right near the 3A cutoff, but who knows what enrollment figures are going to be like when all the figures are sent to the WIAA?

Port Angeles' football woes started three years ago when coach Matt Gracey, who brought a new energy into the Rider gridiron program, opted to leave for a job in California when he wasn't sure whether he would have a job here

because of levy woes.

His assistant Keith Moorman took over for two years, wasn't offered the job this year and that brought in Dick Abrams, the current P.A. coach.

Port Angeles is on its third head coach in the past five years and interest in football among students has waned because of lack of wins, but it takes 50-60 kids in a program to have a chance for wins.

For the past two seasons, not enough have taken part to have a junior varsity team to give the sophs and juniors a chance to learn the system by playing in those games.

So, fans, if Port Angeles winds up in the low 3A status again, me thinks they should "opt down" a classification and join the Olympic/Nisqually League with Sequim, North Mason, Klahowya, Kingston, Steilacoom, Washington, Eatonville and Fife.

What? P.A. would dominate? Not on your life. Take a look at scores between Sequim and North Mason and the Riders this year.

The Riders compete with Sequim, N.M., Klahowya and Kingston in all other sports and are not very dominating in any of those except girls basketball.

Now, say the Riders cannot make that move. What then? I would ask Port Angeles, N.K., Bremerton and Olympic to try like heck to get Bainbridge, Peninsula and Gig Harbor to give up Metro and Seamount and Nisqually League ties and form another Olympic League for football and maybe include them in all sports.

Is that going to happen? Probably not, but I think it's a good thought. It would be better than having the Riders having to play the Vikings, Trojans and Knights twice in football and then having to go afar to play a runner-up in another league to try and get into the gridiron playoffs.

Opt down? Probably not going to happen. Have any ideas? Send me a note.

Reach Scooter Chapman at scooter

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