Coach Sauni Savini stepped foot on the Chief Leschi campus in Puyallup on Tuesday in a pretty chipper mood, ready to get the Warriors ready for their season-opening football game at Ocosta High School in Westport.
And in a few hours, his whole demeanor broke down.
“Not one of those good moments,” the fifth-year coach said.
Chief Leschi’s program started preseason camp with 31 players. But on this particular day, Savini found out 20 of them were ineligible – either by not having enough practices in, or because of academics.
It led to the Warriors’ forfeiting their game Friday night. Ocosta won, 2-0.
“It is a horrible thing,” Savini said. “You never want to give up a game like that to anybody – they planned for the game, and we planned for it and for some reason, our kids … it’s one of those things we have to build better character, build better commitment.”
So now what?
Fortunately the school has a bye this week before its scheduled Sept. 21 game against Darrington.
And that is just no ordinary game. It is the night the Warriors are slated to open their new home field in Puyallup.
“Rain or shine … we will field a team on opening day,” Savini said. “By that point, we should have a healthy amount of guys.”