For the first time in 12 years, high school football has disappeared from the airwaves.
KSRW (Sierra Wave) sports director Bob Todd said the station dropped the broadcasts “for a number of reasons,” but declined to go into specifics.
The decision is a blow to high school sports fans, as well as to the teams themselves, said Huskies Head Coach Marty Thompson.
“It’s a huge deal to those people who watch the games, and it was a great tool for us.”
It also was a public service that not many communities have ever had a chance to experience.
Beginning with a test run in the 2001 season, Todd and his crew presented a “Game of the Week,” featuring either Mammoth or Bishop.
The games were replayed throughout the week, while coaches for both teams (Tom Gault in Mammoth and Bill Egan in Bishop) dissected the tapes for use in forming game plans.
In 2002, Todd and the KSRW crew decided on a bold endeavor to produce games for both Bishop and Mammoth, both home and away. It was, by any standard, ambitious, given the drive times to the opponents’ fields in weather that sometimes was downright nasty.
Aside from schools in football hotbed states such as Texas and Alabama, nobody in their right mind would have undertaken such a thing. But then nobody ever said Todd was in his right mind about high school football.
In producing the shows, he became—and still is—a walking, talking encyclopedia of high school football in these parts, able to recall specific plays in specific games in specific seasons involving specific players.
That includes 2001, when the Huskies, behind Eric Mann, reached the state title game, and in the years (ongoing) of the Rise of Egan in Bishop.
That doesn’t mean football itself is going anywhere anytime soon.
This evening, the Huskies, coming off a 55-7 thrashing at the hands of Whittier Christian, play at Gault/McClure Stadium against Kern Valley, themselves a 54-0 punching bag at the hands of Boron last week.
Bishop, meanwhile, is idle this week after enduring a 36-0 loss to Sierra Canyon.
Certainly Kern will have neither the size nor speed of Whittier Christian, but the Huskies have troubles that go well beyond that.
Still out with a separated shoulder is wide receiver/running back, Alex Hamilton, a co-captain; Matt Graef, another co-captain, is fighting cancer and is out for the season (Graef has attended practices and last week’s game, though); and star tailback and cornerback Tyler Wormhoudt, yet another co-captain, who suffered a knee injury in last week’s loss.
Wormhoudt, taken by ambulance from the field during the second quarter of last week’s game, was cleared to play, but Thompson said he would see only limited time on the field tonight, if at all.
That’s because after this weekend, there is the Rivalry Game at Bishop, and Thompson said he may want to hold Wormhoudt back a week.
In any case, fans will have to actually go to the games to scope them out.
Television, sadly, is not an option.