Friday Night Lights

Story and photos by Caitlyn Walsh 

It’s rare to have a football game where there are more injuries than points scored by the home team.

That’s exactly what happened on Friday, Sept. 23 in St. Ignatius when the Mission Bulldogs played the Florence Falcons. The Bulldogs lost 46-8, but judging from the crowd’s reaction, you wouldn’t be able to tell.

Although the stands were a little empty by 7:30 when Rose Bear Don’t Walk sang the national anthem, by the time the game got over by 10:30, the bleachers were full, and a crowd lined the fence separating the dirt track from the football field.

For the first time in Mission High School history, both St. Ignatius ambulances were used that night.

The first injury was #64 for Florence, Keenan Hendrickson, who took a knee to helmet, followed shortly by #10 for Mission, Dylan Evans. Evans, according to athletic director Alan Pule, dislocated his fibula.

The majority of the spectators stayed until the end, watching Mission lose gracefully to the Falcons.

Some, like high school sweethearts Max and Marianne Johnson used to attend Mission High themselves, and have been married for 57 years. They now enjoy the games from the comfort of their minivan, rather than playing football and cheering on her boyfriend.

Football, to the town of St. Ignatius, is more about supporting the community than watching a rough-and-tumble game. The Dawgs, whose year end record was 3-5-0, are by no means a great team, but they get a small community together. Most spectators aren’t actually watching the game, which they will readily admit, but relish the opportunity to get together with family and friends.