The Oak Harbor Wildcats football team might not have taken home the WesCo 4A North Division championship trophy in 2001, but they didn’t walk away from the season empty-handed.
The Cats were recently awarded the John Trotto Sportsmanship Trophy by the Northwest District officials association.
The award was presented by Officials Association Assigning Secretary Larry LaBree to Oak Harbor head football coach Dave Ward and his team at halftime of the Oak Harbor-Arlington boys’ basketball game on Dec. 14.
“We had a good group of kids that played hard and the referees noticed it,” said Oak Harbor football coach Dave Ward. “We’re certainly appreciative of the award.”
The Northwest District, made up of all referees and officials from Island, Whatcom, and Skagit counties, has been handing out the award since 1977. Two schools earned the trophy this season with Sehome winning the award given to the northern schools and the Cats earning the southern award.
According to Oak Harbor athletic director Jeff Stone, after every football game during the season the officials fill out a card rating each team for sportsmanship. Points were deducted if players received unsportsmanlike behavior penalties and the coaching staffs sideline behavior also contributed to a point total. After the season the ratings were tallied up and Oak Harbor came out in front.
This is the second time that Oak Harbor has won the trophy. When Stone was putting the award in the school trophy case he noticed that the Wildcats had won it in 1979.
Ward hopes that the Wildcats can repeat and win the trophy next season and improve on their 5-4 record as well.
“We talked about respecting our opponents, playing hard,” he said. “We accomplished that. I think next year we can win this award again and win some more games at the same time.”