Two days after the game was originally slated to be played in Kelowna, the KSS Owls watched their 2011 B.C. high school football season come to an emphatic end in Abbotsford.
On Monday afternoon, the hometown W.J. Mouat Hawks blanked the Owls 50-0 in the quarterfinal round of the 2011 playoffs.
The two teams were all set to do battle on Saturday afternoon on the snow-covered artificial turf field at the Capital News Centre but, according to Owls head coach Roy Anderson, the game was postponed after B.C. High School Football deemed the conditions to be too extreme to play on.
The main yard-lines and the perimeter had been cleared of snow by City of Kelowna staff, while the rest of the field remained covered.
“Somebody took a picture of the field and sent it down to the coast to high school football. There was quite a bit of snow, but it looked worse to them than it really was,” said Anderson. “We thought we should have played. They didn’t think so and cancelled it.”
One alternative was to play the game Sunday in Kamloops, but because Mouat was unprepared for an overnight stay in the Interior on Saturday, the game was eventually moved to Abbotsford for Monday afternoon.
“They were still going to beat us,” Anderson said of Mouat. “But it might have been a better game at home. Our coaches couldn’t all make it down there on Monday, some had to work so we were understaffed. All that stuff plays on your mind a little.”
Anderson said the game undoubtedly would have been played in Kelowna Saturday had the entire field been cleaned off.
However, from the City of Kelowna’s perspective the artificial turf field needs to be properly maintained and protected from potentially harmful cleaning practices.
Sports and Facility Programs Manager Don Backmeyer said the city did what it could to ensure the field would be ready for two high school games on Saturday and two minor games on Sunday.
“The guys from parks came to us and said this is something they really wanted to do, to get those games on the field,” Backmeyer said. “So we went to the football associations and asked them if we cleaned the lines, could they play on that basis? They gave us the green light and said they could. The two minor games, as I understand, went ahead on Sunday.”
Backmeyer said the city has to strike a balance between the needs of local teams and the long-term condition of the field.
“What we discovered in the past with snow removal is when the snow melted, the displaced crumb rubber from the turf would pile up in ridges and it took our guys a long time to redistribute that,” he said.
“We’re doing some investigation as we move forward to see what kind of equipment we can use so that potentially we can clean the fields without doing harm to them, and have games on there at any time.”
As for the Owls, the season ended well in some regards as KSS placed three players on the provincial all-star team—Sam Davies at defensive back, defensive lineman Cole Mosychuk and offensive lineman Brett Gordon.
Meanwhile, the Owls-Hawks matchup wasn’t the only postponement on Saturday.
The junior varsity playoff game, scheduled for 5 p.m. between the Mt. Boucherie Bears and Centennial Secondary was called off by the referees due to field conditions.
The game was instead played Sunday in Kamloops with the Centennial beating the Bears 20-14.
Mt. Boucherie finished the season with a 9-1 record.