Football season is always a welcome time of the year. It signals the start school and the coming of fall. And not much matches the energy — on the field and in the stands — of a football game. That’s particularly the case for high school football — whether at a large school or a small school.
But college and pro football have taken on added excitement in this region as Washington State University has a high-profile, highly quotable new head coach, and the Seattle Seahawks have a quarterback with potential to be a star.
WSU Head Coach Mike Leach led Texas Tech for a decade, taking the school to a bowl game every year. Leach enjoys taking risks and he’s fixated on pirates.
As the Cougars prepare for their first game this Thursday, the players seems to have bought into Leach’s high-octane, pass-happy spread offense. The fans are pretty pumped too.
Martin Stadium will likely be at capacity on Sept. 8 when Eastern Washington University travels to Pullman.
During the Pac-12 media day Leach was, well, himself. He even took questions from fans via social media. One fan asked the coach to compare quarterback Jeff Tuel and linebacker Travis Long — the two players he brought with him to the event — with military leaders.
“I’d have to say Jeff would be a little more like Stonewall Jackson,” Leach said. “Gets hold of the play, attacks from different angles. The cavalry is over here, no, we’re here. He’s not afraid to split the force.
“Travis is more of a Ulysses S. Grant guy. He’s in the trenches and if it requires bombarding for a month, he’s fully prepared to do it. He’s going to bombard them till they bust, provided he keeps his pads low.”
It should be a fun season on the Palouse.
In Seattle, the Seahawks’ third-round draft choice Russell Wilson beat out highly touted free agent Matt Flynn for the starting quarterback job. And he did so in a very impressive way. Wilson, although just 5-11 (and who is probably really shorter), has wowed coaches and fans during the preseason.
Wilson is giving Seahawks fans throughout the Pacific Northwest real hope Seattle will once again be a playoff team.
Still, the excitement of college and pro football takes a backseat to local prep stars on Friday nights. There is simply nothing like seeing your kids, neighbors’ kids and friends’ kids playing under the lights at Borleske, Ty Baffney or any of the other high school stadiums in the Valley.
The Union-Bulletin, as always, makes prep sports its top priority.
U-B Sports Editor Bret Rankin has his staff ready to cover high school games and take submissions from coaches for out-of-town games or games the staff couldn’t cover. (Check out Rankin’s column at http://bit.ly/NUgeYC).
Results will be posted on the U-B website, at union-bulletin.com, as soon as possible after the event. The quicker results are called in, the faster they can be posted.
Previews of teams are being published in the sports section in preparation for the season’s first kickoffs on Friday night.