Like many other homecoming games the festivities begin with a fun pep rally, crowning a queen and king, and then the iconic football game. Little did the Sterling fans know that this year’s homecoming game would be anything but ordinary.
Bad weather started off being the initial problem of the night but will not be the most remembered part; the game ending in a no contest. With help from the weather the game was postponed in the middle of the second quarter against the Ell-Saline Cardinals.
“I didn’t look like from looking at the weather forecast that we would get the whole game in,” Sterling’s athletic director Dan Whisler said. “I had communicated with Sterling College and they had already had the homecoming game on Saturday but offered us use of the field Saturday night.”
From that point on the game was going to be played at 7 p.m. the following day on Oct. 7, until Whisler received a call from Ell-Saline’s principle in the morning that changed everything.
“By 10:00 I got a phone call that everything was cancelled,” Whisler said. “With district games starting on Friday, coach Schneider wanted to get the game in over the weekend, and I also wanted it for the community, a homecoming football game is an important part of a homecoming weekend.”
The Saturday night reschedule not working for Ell-Saline, and their suggestion of Monday night not working for Sterling, brought controversy to many on when the rest of the game would be played. Looking to the Kansas State High School’s Athletic Association (KSHAA) seemed like a fair solution.
“Since this was a regular season game, and not a district game, it is up to the two schools to work out a rescheduled date,” football administrator from KSHSAA Mark Lentz said. “If they cannot reach an agreement, this is a school issue. KSHSAA would not be involved in resolving a disagreement, unless this was a district or playoff game. Since the game did not finish, or mutually agree to finish, then there is no winner and no loser, in the team scores.”
Disappointment and frustration in the outcome of the game wasn’t the only drawback of the night for many including Sterling’s head coach Derek Schneider.
“I think that fact that we didn’t get to play was the biggest negative of the whole situation,” Schneider said. “In general it was a downer for the student body that they didn’t get a homecoming and for the community because it’s a community effort. It was worse than any other weather delay because it was our homecoming.”
Despite the end result of the game, Whisler looks on the bright side for a solution to these types of situations in the future.
“I’ve asked the league to come up with a plan for that,” Whisler said. “The weather is going to interfere, and if there is a plan in place by the league, it will help whoever is in that situation with a procedure to determine when it is made up. Looking back, I don’t think I would change anything about the way we handled it, I just wish the outcome was different.”