The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Mule football starts with 4-team, 2-game Saturday, September 1


August 16, 2018

Diana Zimmerman

School lights lit up the night sky in Cathlamet as the first Wahkiakum Mule football practice got underway this week. Twenty-eight athletes turned out for some fun games and plenty of push-ups in the earliest hours of Wednesday, August 15.

The start of the Wahkiakum Mule football season will be a lot different this year.

Sure, the Mules hit the locker room just after midnight Wednesday morning, the first day they could practice, and, sure, they'll have the regular series of preseason practices, but then comes their first game.

The Mules will play the second game of a double header on September 1. The Napavine Tigers will take on the Liberty Lancers at 10 a.m., and the Mules will face the Colfax Bulldogs at 1 p.m. Both games will be at the Wahkiakum High School field.

The double header got its start last winter, Mule Coach Eric Hansen said Tuesday.

The Mules have tried to schedule the Naselle Comets for the non-league, season opener to play the traditional KM Mountain Trophy Game. The Comets normally play in the Class 1B eight-man football division, and the Mules play in the Class 2B 11-man football division. Hansen said Naselle staff had suggested a hybrid game, eight-man with Naselle on offense and 11-man with Wahkiakum on offense, and Hansen declined.

"We need to play 11-man," Hansen said.

It turned out Colfax, Napavine and Liberty were also looking for season openers. Hansen proposed the double headers, west side of the Cascade this year and east side next year; coaches agreed, and the event was set.

"I wanted to do it for four years, going back and forth, but they only agreed to two years," Hansen said. "And who knows what leagues and classifications will look like in a couple years."

The double header will bring together teams with strong recent showings.

Liberty finished 13-1 last year, losing the championship game to Kalama 28-27. The Lancers were also second the previous year, losing to Napavine who had finished second the two previous years.

As for the Mules, Hansen said he hopes to have 28 players on the field this year. They finished second in their division of the Central League last season, ending with a 7-3 record. The team had 13 freshmen, four sophomores and six juniors, who will now be a year older, and almost all had plenty of varsity experience in the 2017 season.

The double header will be a social event as well. Liberty and Colfax will arrive in Cathlamet Friday, dine at a barbecue at Skamokawa Vista Park, and spend the night in the high and middle school gymnasiums. After a breakfast, they'll head to the football field.


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