September 17, 2000
Falcons fall flat to Earthquakes
by Russ Paris
It was a 5:30 p.m. scheduled kick-off between Woodinville and Franklin high schools at Leon H. Brigham Memorial Stadium. On a balmy Friday night in downtown Seattle it was a perfect setting for a football game with marching bands, parents and fans enthusiastic about a new football season.
The mood was, however, sober in wake of last week's terrorist attacks. Instead of students boasting their school pride, there were more carrying American flags demonstrating their national allegiance. Most of the crowd at the Seattle Center were there to place flowers at the International Fountain and light candles in moments of remembrance of those who died in last Tuesday's attacks, not to attend a football game.
The decision to even play the game was in limbo until Friday morning (a day of mourning). It turned out to be a decision by school districts whether to play or not.
Metro schools and Northshore schools elected to play, trying to bring students back to normalcy, even while major league baseball, football and most colleges elected not to play.
Were the players really able to focus on the task at hand? What was going on in the minds of 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds?
As I stood on the sidelines in a pregame moment of silence, a jet airliner (first I had seen over Seattle skies all week) flew over the stadium.
One could not help but wonder for an instany where it was headed, with the nearby Space Needle a potential terrorist target. As I looked up, I noticed a lot of nearby players also following the plane's flight with their eyes.
The game was filled with fumbles, 13 in all. The Falcons dropped the ball four times, twice losing possession to the opposition. Luck and the unpredictable bounce of the oblong ball probably had more to do with the 21 to 9 Falcon loss than the effort by either team.
Even though there were some great individual efforts and sporatic moments of team play, high school football is 48 minutes of war and it was obvious that total concentration was not there ... by either team, as the thought of a much bigger scope of pending war loomed.
Head Coach Terry Agnew did his job by laying into the offensive players about their effort, while Assistant Coach Mike Bertram verbally tried to motivate the defense through pep talks during the time-outs.
Both coaches' efforts were two fold. First they were trying to get the most out of the team, and to get them headed in the right direction. Secondly, and most important, is their concern for their athletes. Both coaches know when you lose effort from concentration, that is when players can get hurt.
This is the second year that Woodinville was upset by Franklin. The WHS defense that only gave up 39 second- half yards to Lake Washington looked ready to play. They stopped the Quakers' opening drive. Franklin could not move the ball and had to punt.
The WHS offense also started the game with full focus. The Falcons received the punt on their own 32-yard line. Senior quarterback Kevin Agnew (who had 138 of the 178 WHS total offensive yards) ran for 14 yards to the WHS 46. The Falcons advanced to the Quaker 23-yard line behind fine runs by Ben Tomco and Matt Tuiasosopo. Filed goal kicker Ben Hoefer gave the Birds a 3-0 lead at the 2'58" mark of the first quarter. His 38-yard field goal split the uprights dead center and probably would have been sweet from 48 yards.The adrenaline for both teams showed signs of wearing off in the second period, as the mistakes started showing.
Franklin quarterback Jordan Slye, who completed only three passes all night, took advantage of two Falcon secondary mental lapses as he threw the first of two 21-yard touchdown passes to Michael Hendricks.
The Falcons came right back on passes from Agnew to receiver Ryan Watson to advance the pigskin inside the Quakes' 40-yard line. WHS running back Eric Norris' exciting 32-yard touchdown sprint (6 carries for 49 yards) brought the Falcons within six, 9 to 15 at the half.
The 1-and-1 Falcons' next game is against 1-and-1 Garfield at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 20, at Pop Keeney Field.