(Tumwater, WA) The Tumwater T-Birds are a perennial contender for the State Football Championship finishing 2nd last year but with 5 Titles under the winningest Coach in State History, Sid Otton they are always a target. There are rumblings Coach Otton may be getting ready to call it a career and if this next season is indeed the finale it looks like Tumwater fans will be short 1-game in their regular season.
The T-Birds play in the 6-team Evco 2A league meaning each team has 5 league games and 4 non-leagues except this year it was agreed upon that Tumwater would not play Rochester in league play. The deal was struck over concerns from Rochester of their team being overwhelmed by Tumwater and it was not in either school’s interest for the game to be played. The game will be considered somewhat a league forfeit for Rochester and at the same time allowed for each school to play an opponent in non-league action that is better matched.
So Tumwater’s Athletic Director Tim Graham worked to find 5 additional games. Graham says this is not easy there are many schools especially at the 3A and 4A levels that do not want to play Tumwater. Not only does it look bad to lose to a lower classification school, many teams with a much more demanding league schedule want maybe what would be a softer opponent.
The last 2 season’s Tumwater has had to travel to Yakima and Idaho just to find games to fill their schedule. Graham was given marching orders from the football coaches, parents and fans…well not orders but a high priority of not having to travel so far for games.
It looked like Graham had hit a home run with the 2016 schedule when he not only found 5 opponents but all 5 were in the play-offs last season and in week 3 was a match-up that the T-Birds not only welcomed but the fan base was buzzing about, the Bellevue Wolverines. Graham had told us previously that he left the decision up to the coaches and players and it was unanimous that they wanted to face the Wolverines.
On Tuesday, Bellevue, who has been found guilty of cheating with pay-offs to a private school and coaches by an out of control Booster Club was hammered by the KingCo Conference with a 4-year ban on the Bellevue football team from post season play. There were many other penalties including a ban on Bellevue playing any non-league football games for this coming season. This looks like it will limit Bellevue football to only 5 games this fall.
ESN talked with Graham who says right now there is a hole in the Tumwater schedule on September 16 where they were supposed to be in Bellevue for the highly anticipated match-up with the Wolverines. Graham says now they will wait for the entire process to play out to see if the sanctions become final. Graham says he will put word out for anyone that would like to play them on September 16 that they would be interested but at this stage of scheduling Graham doesn’t know of any team that hasn’t completed their scheduling for next season, in fact the next 2 seasons.
Generally AD’s like to commit to a 2-year schedule or a home and home series with each other. So if the ban holds as is, it appears Bellevue will get to come to Tumwater in September of 2017 to play the T-Birds. As of now Graham says it is a wait and see what happens but he isn’t holding out hope that if Bellevue is banned from playing Tumwater this season that he will be able to fill the game at this stage.