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Ridgefield football uses midnight magic to open season


ClarkCountyToday.com sports reporter Paul Valencia was live on Facebook for Ridgefield Spudder’s first practice.

First practice comes at 12:01 a.m. to launch a new era for the Spudders

RIDGEFIELD — They came from out of the shadows, the darkness.

They heard the music, and they followed the lights.

At 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, the Ridgefield Spudders rushed the stadium field. Within seconds, footballs were in the air for the skill position players while linemen started perfecting their craft.

 

The Ridgefield Spudders started the football season as soon as they could, holding a Midnight Madness style practice Wednesday early, early morning. Wednesday is the first official day of high school football practice in Washington. Photo by Mike Schultz
The Ridgefield Spudders started the football season as soon as they could, holding a Midnight Madness style practice Wednesday early, early morning. Wednesday is the first official day of high school football practice in Washington. Photo by Mike Schultz

 

Today, after all, is a holiday of sorts for the Washington sports world. Today is the first official day of high school football practice for the 2018 season.

The Spudders did not want to waste a minute, ushering in the new year with a Midnight Madness practice.

“Fresh positivity,” Ridgefield lineman Kalvin Staker said. “I think it brings a lot of new energy.”

“We’ve never done this before,” added lineman Cole Anderson. “I think it’s a good start to the season.”

The Spudders are particularly thrilled with turning the page, looking forward to a new beginning. Last season did not go as they had planned with a 1-8 record. And then there was a coaching change less than two weeks ago. Chris Abrams has been named the interim coach. He wanted to make sure the start of this campaign was memorable

Brynan Shipley, the school’s new athletic director, gave the OK for the special practice time.

“Taking this program in a new direction and having new leadership is just creating excitement for the boys. Gets them excited and kind of pumped up and sets the tone for what we want this season to really look like: exciting and a lot of energy,” Shipley said.

“They’re just celebrating the start of something great.”

The Ridgefield Spudders caught a break with a cool practice session Wednesday morning, beating the weather with a midnight practice. While some might say it was a Tuesday night practice, officially it was Wednesday morning, on the first day practice is allowed for high school football. Photo by Mike Schultz
The Ridgefield Spudders caught a break with a cool practice session Wednesday morning, beating the weather with a midnight practice. While some might say it was a Tuesday night practice, officially it was Wednesday morning, on the first day practice is allowed for high school football. Photo by Mike Schultz

The plan is for all teams to be starting something Wednesday, but in more traditional hours. All teams in Clark County have scheduled practices.

Interestingly, many schools, including those in the Evergreen School District, were forced to practice indoors Wednesday due to air quality issues. School officials said they would continue to monitor the air quality and make the appropriate decisions in the coming days.

As far as us at ClarkCountyToday.com, we will be making the rounds, taking pictures and videos, and trying to attend all 18 football programs over the next couple weeks. Look for our season preview stories to begin next week.

Ridgefield got the jump on everyone else, heading out at midnight to make their presence known.

Happy New Year everyone. It’s football season.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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