||East Valley (Spokane) HS|
Hello, my name is Taylor Watkins and I’m a senior at East Valley High School in Spokane, WA. I’m a three sport athlete, but this fall I was focused on playing quarterback for the football team. Football has been a part of my life since I was a little boy tossing it around with my family. This fall was the last year of my high school football career, and might have been my last opportunity ever to put on the pads again. I guess you could say my season was a very memorable/emotional/disappointing one.
Games one through three we played against all Idaho Schools. We swept those schools for the first time ever, which included a win against 5A Post Falls to start the season 3-0. Next was league. In our mind our record was back at 0-0 because that was when games really started to count. We started league 2-0 with wins against Clarkston for Homecoming then a win against Colville. Those wins put us at a 5-0 overall record, which hasn’t been done since our school won State in 1981. Game six of our season was at Cheney. We came out flat and found ourselves down 34 to 28 with around two minutes remaining in the game. It came down to a 4th and 1 play around their 20 yard line. I rolled out on a bootleg and ran for the first down when a Cheney player hit his helmet right on my knee causing instant pain as I fell past the 1st down marker. I sat out the rest of the minute or so to see my team lose our first game. Later, I would come to find out I partially tore my MCL.
Next week was our rivalry game versus West Valley and I had to sit out. We played another nail biter right to the end; with the score 27 to 27 with 1 second left. They kicked a 30 yard game winning field goal to give us our second league loss putting us at 5-2 overall and 2-2 in league. Game eight of our season was at Pullman; at this point we knew one more loss would disable us from playoff contention. We played great beating the Greyhounds 44 to 34 giving them their 1st league loss. After a bye week I got my chance to return for senior night. This was our last game, game number nine against Deer Park. At this time 5 teams out of 7 in our league were still in contention for the league Championship. In order to make the playoffs we of course had to win, but we also needed Colville, previously 0-5 in league, to win against league leading Pullman with a 4-1 record. My teammates and I played great once again and beat the visiting Stags 35 to 24. We got the results from the game up north to hear that Colville upset Pullman 26 to 20 to send our league into a four way tie with us, West Valley, Cheney, and Pullman all with 4-2 league records. We thought there was going to be a tie breaking playoff at a neutral site on either Saturday November 3rd or Monday November 5th.
The league informed us on Friday the 2nd saying that in order for us to have made the playoffs Cheney also had to lose against Clarkston the same night we played Deer Park. They concluded that Pullman would get the 1st seed to state and Cheney gets the 2nd seed ending our season. Our coaches and Administration were very confused to hear that Pullman, 6-3 overall and 4-2 in league got to go on to state over us when we beat Pullman and had a record of 7-2 overall and 4-2 in league as well. Our coaches looked in the GNL (Great Northern League) handbook for football to read the rules and regulations for the tie breaking policy. It said if there was a four way tie head to head contests wouldn’t matter and there would be a tie breaking playoff. Our Administration took this to the league board only to get denied saying that there is also a GNL league tiebreaking policy and they were going to abide by that rule and not the football specific tie breaker policy, still holding us out of the playoffs. Our last option was to take our appeal to District 7 which we did only to be denied once again.
I do not know why they denied our appeal because one rule said one thing and one said another. I wish this could have resulted differently somehow, because without injuries I honestly believe we were the best team in league. I know this will be something that I will never forget for the rest of my life. I would like to thank my Administration and Coaches for everything they’ve done.