From a school administrator’s point of view, Friday night’s Half Moon Bay-Sequoia football game had all the excitement of paint drying.
That is not a bad thing.
League mates last year, the Cougars and the Cherokees played a nonleague game Friday, with host Sequoia prevailing, 28-6. Last year was the first time the two teams played a football game since the debacle at the 2007 game. It was five years ago that players on the Sequoia side told their principal that someone in a Cougar uniform had uttered racial slurs. That resulted in an investigation and games between the two schools were moved to neutral locations.
Friday night was the first time the teams played at Sequoia since 2006.
Plenty has changed since that 2007 game, and all for the better.
Half Moon Bay has made plenty of changes to make it a family atmosphere for a night football game. The most obvious is the new set of bleachers on the visitors’ side. A few feet up, the bleachers can seat about 200 people.
A concession cart is located on that side of the field, so visitors don’t have to go too far to get a quick bite.
The biggest change is the attitude. While winning is still important, it’s not the No. 1 goal at Half Moon Bay.
One recent coaching hire said that in his interview with former athletic director Matt Ballard, winning games never came up. Ballard was more interested in building character.
And it’s not just football. Several rival coaches have remarked how much they enjoy playing Half Moon Bay because of the coach and the teams.
Cougar athletics are as good as they have been in a long time. The football team has gone to the playoffs in two straight years. The boys water polo team and girls tennis team are undefeated as their respective leagues hit the halfway point of the season. Other sports continue to prosper. The wrestling team won the league title last year.
In my nearly 30 years of covering high school sports, I remember some wonderful athletes and teams, but some of those players were hard to coach. It was so bad that when one team’s season ended in the semifinals of a playoff, there was a rumor that the coach was not entirely sorry that the season ended.
The good attitude for Half Moon Bay athletics is evident. The Cougars play hard but are expected to be respectful.