Editorial: New stadium, perfect year

The Oak Harbor Wildcats football team managed to create a perfect season for their namesake Wildcat Memorial Stadium, built in part on the good will earlier versions of the same football team had created up in the community.

The new stadium opened with great fanfare in September, and the home season ended Saturday, Nov. 2, with the team’s first 2007 playoff game against Bellarmine Prep. It was Oak Harbor’s 10th consecutive win on their home turf, meaning Wildcat football fans have yet to see the team lose in the new stadium. This perfect record will continue to next year, as the Bellarmine game marked the end of home games for the Wildcats, who will now pursue their second consecutive Class 4A state title on the road.

This golden season has served to bind the community together more than ever, as literally thousands of Whidbey Island residents have turned out for each home game, culminating Saturday with a festive throng attracted to the first home playoff game in years, thanks to the availability of the new field. The 20-10 victory was the perfect end to the perfect first season at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

Any remaining skeptics of the stadium project had to be won over Saturday at the sight of the crowd cheering on their Wildcats, while buying hot dogs and other snacks to line the pockets of the ASB and community groups that profit by keeping football fans satisfied. The whole year provided a dizzying array of colorful images, from the enthusiastic cheerleaders to the high school band, NJROTC drill team and honor guard, and all the fans decked out in purple and gold.

The stadium has already been a priceless addition to the community. And not just the immediate Oak Harbor area. Coupeville High School’s football players won their first playoff game last week against Friday Harbor and were thrilled to be scheduled to play their second playoff game last night at Wildcat Memorial Stadium. It’s the kind of facility that players get excited about, which will keep the stadium busy year-round with others coming here to play football and soccer on the artificial surface.

Wildcat Memorial Stadium’s first year was successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams as the team produced its first perfect record since 1966, and the playoffs continue. Whatever happens down the road for the 2007 Wildcats, they’ve already left their indelible mark on Oak Harbor history.

As a thanks you, Oak Harbor fans should trek en masse to Olympia his Friday night to support their team. Go, Wildcats!

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