Last Friday’s first varsity football game on the Hudson’s Bay campus won’t be the last.
Not only will the Eagles host 2A Greater St. Helens League foe Columbia River this Friday, the school hopes to play on-campus games in future years.
Hudson’s Bay, which opened in 1955, has played home games at Kiggins Bowl, a venue it shares with four other high schools.
But Friday’s 28-13 win over R.A. Long was a true home game for the Eagles. Instead of boarding buses for the two-mile trip to Kiggins, the Eagles walked from the school’s locker room to their field through a park known as Patron’s Grove.
Players linked arms as they passed under the arch marking the Patron’s Grove entrance. That’s something head coach Ray Lions hopes becomes a unique Hudson’s Bay tradition.
“The players have been ecstatic all week leading up to this game,” Hudson’s Bay athletic director Greg Roberts said on Friday.
Roberts said some facility upgrades are necessary for the turf field, which was installed in 2018, to become a consistent home venue.
A public-address system will need to be installed. Locker room space is also an issue, though Roberts said one solution could be to use the indoor space under the bleachers at the baseball stadium next door. On Friday, neither team left the field during halftime.
The setting was perfect for about 150 fans who watched Friday’s game. Many sat on blankets on the grassy berm to the field’s north. Others watched from camping chairs on the sidewalk along East McLoughlin Boulevard or from parked cars.
Before the game, a small barbecue and sound system gave the berm a tailgate-like feel. The sunset silhouetted the downtown Vancouver skyline to the southwest, making Hudson’s Bay one of Clark County’s most scenic football settings.
Planning for larger McKenzie crowds
Cale Piland, athletic director for Evergreen Public School, said last Friday he started working on two plans to bring more fans into football games at McKenzie Stadium.
“There’s some confusion on how the state’s guidelines apply to high schools,” Piland said. “So I have two plans, one for allowing 1,400 (fans) and another for 400.”
Piland said he was waiting on clarification of the guidelines released by the state last Thursday on how they applied to high school sports.
Late Friday afternoon, the WIAA released a clarification on those guidelines.
Starting Thursday, 400 spectators will be allowed to watch events at outdoor high school facilities with a seating capacity of 1,600 or fewer. In Southwest Washington, that includes every high school stadium outside of the three larger facilities of McKenzie Stadium, Kiggins Bowl and Doc Harris Stadium.
At the larger facilities, the allowable limit of fans will be set at 25 percent of the seating capacity. That’s about 1,000 fans at Kiggins Bowl and Doc Harris Stadium and about 1,400 at McKenzie.
“Things are going to feel a little more like normal next week,” said Adam Mathieson, Mountain View’s athletic director and football coach. “We’re having a meeting on Monday to figure out how that’s all going to work.”