Down, set, smoke!
Two weeks into the football season and neither Madras High School nor Sisters High School has yet to see the playing field.
“Right now, our boys don’t know if they are going to be playing in an hour,” said head Madras football coach Kurt Taylor before the game.
Unfortunately they didn’t.
The game originally scheduled to be in Sisters was moved to Madras due to unhealthy air quality.
“Two days this week we were inside, if it is under 150 for air quality, we can be outside for an hour and a half, so we have had split practices outside and then go inside for ten, fifteen minutes and call it a day,” said head Sisters football coach Clayton Hall.
A rough start to the season.
Madras’ opener was canceled last week due to their opponent, the Corbett Cardinals, having COVID exposures.
Sisters’ home opener against Burns was also canceled, but due to smoke.
“It was kind of devastating, kind of tough,” Hall said. “You have COVID issues, you have smoke issues, it’s tough for the kids, so we are really excited to be here tonight. It’s really awesome.”
Madras and Sisters were geared up and ready to go, but the smoke had other plans.
“We’ve had some practices close to being canceled due to air quality and this is the worst it has been all week,” said Madras senior Reece White. “I would argue the whole time, it rolled in out of nowhere.”
The air quality index needed to be moderate or under 100 for the game to be played, but hours before competition, the AQI reached unhealthy, which is more than 150.
“The game is canceled for tonight and we will try and reschedule, but the hard thing is getting officials and that is why it was on a Thursday night tonight, so if air quality improves over Central Oregon tomorrow, we probably won’t have enough officials to reschedule,” said Madras Athletic Director Daniel Barendse.
The Sisters Outlaws walked back to the locker room disappointed in another game canceled due to smoke.
Football games aren’t the only activities canceled lately.
Several soccer games around Central Oregon have also been called off or rescheduled due to unhealthy air quality.