Coach Sauni Savini was on the Chief Leschi campus in Puyallup last week in a pretty chipper mood, ready to get the Warriors ready for their season-opening football game at Ocosta High School in Westport.
And in a few hours, his whole demeanor changed.
“Not one of those good moments,” the fifth-year coach said.
Chief Leschi’s program started preseason camp with 31 players.
But last week Savini found out 20 of them were ineligible – either by not having enough practices in, or because of academics.
It led to the Warriors’ forfeiting their game Friday night, which goes in the record books as a 2-0 win for Ocosta.
“It is a horrible thing,” Savini said. “You never want to give up a game like that to anybody – they planned for the game, and we planned for it and for some reason, our kids … it’s one of those things we have to build better character, build better commitment.”
So now what?
Fortunately, the Warriors have a bye this week before the scheduled Sept. 21 game against Darrington.
And that is no ordinary game. It is the night the Warriors are slated to open their new home field in Puyallup.
“Rain or shine … we will field a team on opening day,” Savini said. “By that point, we should have a healthy amount of guys.”
As if Chelan County hasn’t been pummeled enough by wildfires, then another one of those unpredictable “natural disasters” hit Saturday night in time to interrupt a nonleague football matchup of Class 1A playoff hopefuls.
Cle Elum/Roslyn, ranked No. 3 in The News Tribune’s 1A rankings, held a 21-14 lead over Cascade of Leavenworth in the middle of the second quarter.
That is when Cle Elum/Roslyn athletic director Abe Silvestri noticed the oncoming lightning storms, which were off in the distance at the start of the game.
As they approached, flashing their fury every 30 seconds or so, Silvestri finally got the officiating crew to stop the game so other options could be discussed.
Both schools went to their respective locker rooms to wait out the storms. They never ceased. And after 30 minutes, the game was suspended.
“There’s not much you can do,” Silvestri said, “when Mother Nature gets (mad).”
With a game well into the second quarter, if both coaches agree, the result could go as a final score – 21-14 in favor of Cle Elum/Roslyn.
Of course, that is what the Warriors are hoping comes of this. On the other side of this is Cascade of Leavenworth. Its coach – Elia Ala’ilima-Daley – happens to also be the school’s assistant principal and athletic director.
As of Tuesday morning, no dialogue about a resolution had occurred between the two schools. Silvestri said resuming the game at a later date, possibly in midweek, is also on the table.
“From an athletics’ standpoint, this is a great lesson about life … for our kids to remember there are things they can control, and things they can’t,” Silvestri said. “But as far as a community member, this (run of natural disasters) is getting old.”