Rob Oxford: Turn out the lights, the party's over

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Wolverines move the ball downfield
Photo by Rob Oxford
By Rob Oxford

The Shorecrest Scots 2018 Football Season came to an end Saturday Night with a 34 - 7 loss to 2nd ranked Bellevue and as a fan and Father of a Scot, I found it surprisingly easy to leave the stadium with my head held high.

It would be unfair to assume that anyone outside of Shoreline expected the Scots to be victorious, but this was a playoff game, their first in over a decade and one must always believe. It is crucial to have faith. To not only believe in oneself, but also ones coaches and fellow teammates.

Football is a game played by human beings. At any given time, players on both teams are capable of making mistakes. Referees make bad calls. The weather can be a factor and the ball bounces funny. All of these are reasons to play the game and sometimes... the "Underdog" does win.

The stats for this particular game aren't necessarily worth mentioning. Fans of the Wolverines are used to seeing them bulldoze their way downfield and fans of the Scots are familiar with how they battle each opponent. Tackles were made, blocks were thrown, passes dropped, penalties assessed, but a 101 yard interception by Sammy Seliga returned for a Highlander touchdown in his final game as a Scot, was certainly a much needed moral booster for the visitors and kept Shorecrest from being shut out.

No one needs reminding that Bellevue has faced controversy in the past for suspected program violations, including boosters being accused of paying for athletes’ tuitions, false addresses being used to gain eligibility and coaches recruiting athletes into the program.

No one needs to be reminded that the Wolverine Lineman are big, much bigger than many of their opponents. But whether one wants to admit it or not, football, and in this case high school football, is a business and for Bellevue, business has been good for many, many years.

Bellevue's assistant coach in charge of waving the white noodle
Photo by Rob Oxford

But this article is not meant to be overly critical of The Wolverine Football program. In fact there were many things I witnessed Saturday night that I admired. Some things that reminded me of my days playing football in Texas and then again, some that did not. In particular, the coach whose sole job seemed to be swinging a long white noodle over his head the entire night? I thought I knew most of the coaching positions, that one must be new.

However, I admired the involvement of those underclassmen/players who would otherwise not be seeing any action, standing together on the sideline encouraging their teammates while simultaneously doing their best to distract their opponent with a myriad of chants and cheers. At first it may have seemed annoying, but it kept them engaged. As members of the team they too were given a job to do and all night long they did it quite well.

Also significant was the precision with which the Bellevue Offense "broke the huddle" and almost sprinted to the line before each snap, that too was impressive. The almost choreographed moves of the Linemen as they got down into their 3 point stance in unison. The second effort given by the Bellevue Running Backs after initial contact was a thing of beauty and garnered them several additional yards on many of their carries.

Bellevue's Spirit Bell
Photo by Rob Oxford

Finally, after shaking hands with their opponent, the Wolverines lined up on the sideline facing the home crowd and with helmets off, swayed back and forth as the school song was played. A true sign of appreciation for all in attendance. That is discipline. That is tradition. As is the Spirit Bell which hangs above the stairs leading to the field.

The Scots' traditional entrance to the field
with pipers playing the battle song
Copyright Anne Jack Photography

But Shorecrest too has its traditions, including one that nearly brings this reporter to tears each time it begins. The sound of the Scottish Piper leading his team into battle. The players paired together arm in arm as they make their way from the locker room, through the crowd, past the student body and onto the field. It is a magical moment and one I'll never tire of witnessing.

I was a little perplexed as to the relatively sparse turnout and why the covered seating at Bellevue Stadium is minimal to say the least. I was actually expecting something much more extravagant to be honest. Could it be that an undefeated team is so used to winning that few people bother coming to the games until they get deeper into the playoffs? Was it the weather? Does it not rain as much on the east side of Lake Washington as it does on the west side?

Regardless, the Bellevue Wolverines are advancing to the Tacoma Dome for a shot at another state championship and the Shorecrest Scots are not. However, as was conveyed to them the entire week before, the Scots earned an opportunity to compete with the "big boys" this past Saturday Night and despite a 27 point differential, they did indeed compete.

With that, for the Scots of 2019 there is much on which to build. For the Scots of 2018 there is much to appreciate.

Until next season...


Anonymous,  November 6, 2018 at 10:14 AM  

Is Bellevue the program that was suspended and sued for reinstatement?

Gordon November 6, 2018 at 6:10 PM  

Nice work keeping everyone informed this year Rob. I love your caption on their Noodle Coach.

Me November 8, 2018 at 3:27 PM  

Congrats to the Scots on a great season, and thank you for the wonderful articles and photos!

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