An effort to minimize the number of venues used during semifinal weekend and maximize crowd size at each venue resulted in the Lummi football team having to travel to Everett on Saturday for its Class 1B game against Neah Bay.
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association on Sunday released the times and locations for its 12 semifinal games across six classifications. This is the first year since the WIAA stopped using the Tacoma Dome for all semifinals played on the west side of the state and is instead using approved locations within each district across the state.
Bellingham’s Civic Stadium is one of two approved sites within the Northwest District, along with Everett Memorial Stadium, and the top-ranked Blackhawks are the designated home team for their game against the Red Devils.
Rather than keeping Lummi in Whatcom County, the WIAA is sending it to Everett to play the back half of a semifinal doubleheader, following the 1 p.m. Class 2A battle between Lynden and Archbishop Murphy.
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“We tried our best to play back-to-back games at as many sites as we could,” WIAA Assistant Executive Director John Miller said Monday.
To do so, Miller said, the WIAA sorted games according to which district the designated home team in each game was from. The Northwest District had only two host teams – Lummi and Archbishop Murphy.
The WIAA then looked at which host team had the potential to draw a larger crowd – in this case, the larger Class 2A schools won out, so the games were scheduled in Everett.
“But for us, that’s just a short trip, compared to some of the drives we have to make,” Lummi athletic director and coach Jim Sandusky said of the 79-mile commute his team will make Saturday.
The WIAA will host all six championship games in the Tacoma Dome Dec. 2-3. Should Lummi and Lynden both win their semifinals Saturday, they again would play back-to-back games at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Dec. 3.
Whatcom County teams in state semifinals
▪ Lynden vs. Archbishop Murphy (at Everett Memorial Stadium), 1 p.m. Saturday
▪ Lummi vs. Neah Bay (at Everett Memorial Stadium), 4 p.m. Saturday