Spirit’s Seasons, A Series – Football, Episode IV

COACH SINTASKET WAS hopeful for the team because the next game was at home against the lowly ranked Chief Moses Eagles. This game with Chief Moses High School was almost like a family reunion. Mac, James, Peanut, and Cloud all had 1st cousins that played for the Eagles. Even Spirit had a pair of 2nd cousins in the backfield. During warmups both schools had drummers including Chase, Sr. and Bull IV. The drum beats hauntingly echoed up the Sinkiuse Valley as if to call the Old Ones and beckon their spirits. Several players sidled up to each other around mid-field and exchanged pleasantries with their opponents. And Spirit was happy to finally play a home game. As the wind gently wafted north from the Columbia River, across the valley, and the humidity hung in the air, Spirit took in a deep breath and enjoyed the fragrance of freshly cut grass and he could detect the familiar, musky, wilderness aroma of the Sinkiuse River. He thought, What a perfect evening, could there be a more enjoyable place and time of year?

But Spirit was somewhat concerned about the noncompetitive feel of this game. He also worried about Larry Lillooet. His starting quarterback could gingerly move about and he could plant his right foot for the pass; but if he was hit hard, it could be the end of Larry’s season and the end for the Bobcats as well. Swift sat on the sideline for this game. His back was still sensitive and he experienced pain when he walked. Spirit also considered, With a gimpy quarterback and without my best ground gainer this game could be a lot closer than the experts predicted.

Spirit had reason to worry as his team struggled throughout the game, and his Bobcats lost in the closing seconds. The Sinkiuse Bobcats experienced a close but shocking 32-30 loss. This game was a huge disappointment for Spirit, all the Bobcats, and their fans. It looked as if this season, possibly the last for Spirit’s team, was going to look like every other season with more losses than wins. While the Eagles’ ManyMoons brothers and the Marchand boy dominated the game, Sylix had his worst performance, and Larry… well, he just could not find his receivers. The only bright spot ahead appeared to be the Bobcats’ bye week. And they would need that next Friday off in order to recover.

On Sunday afternoon Coach Sintasket traveled north to the Corner Corral in Eureka Gulch. He met Coach Pedakakis for a late lunch. They discussed football for over an hour and exchanged game tapes. The next day Spirit gave his team a break to rest up and recover; Tuesday they watched and studied game films of their Chief Moses game and the tape of the Loon Lake game with Billy’s Eureka Panthers, the Bobcats next rival. The Panthers were favorites, but Spirit had not given up hope. He felt, with rest, his boys could give Billy’s team a close game if everyone was healthy and playing at a 100%.

The following Friday brought several upsets in the league. It looked as if the Scenicview was finally well balanced this year. And Spirit’s hope was bolstered as he thought; Even with two losses and the 0-1 league record anything is still possible for this season.