MONTESANO — If the Montesano Bulldogs football team is to repeat as state champions this season, they’ll have to do it as road dogs once again.
The reconstruction of the Rottle Field grandstand, razed by fire last September, has been delayed due to defects in the concrete risers that support the wooden benches in the grandstand, according to Montesano School District Superintendent Dan Winter.
Staff and students are disappointed.
“It is what it is”, sighed Athletic Director Tim Trimble at the football game last week. School staff, coaches and athletes are not thrilled with yet another delay, but it will not be the straw to break the Bulldog back. Even with the loss of a home advantage football field for this years Bulldog team, spirits are high.
Lineman Jake Massoth, a senior this year, who has spent will spend his final two years playing mainly on the road for the Bulldogs, understands that there is nothing that can be done, and is disappointed.
“It’s kind of a downer, but there is nothing that we can do about it. They (the coaches) have also been talking about maybe a Thursday night game. It may be a different night, but we will still have a field, lights and an opposing team … so it will not be all that different,” said Massoth.
Senior receiver Tristan Darst shares the sentiment with his teammate.
“I am kind of disappointed, but Aberdeen (Stewart Field) is like our second home. We will play whenever, wherever any one wants to play,” said Darst.
Stadium contractor Rognlin’s Inc., of Aberdeen, refused the precast risers provided by the supplier, according to Winter.
“There were defective spots in all of them. They rejected them and now we’re starting over with that portion of the project,” Winter said.
The project’s completion, originally targeted for mid-October, is now delayed until late winter or early spring.
“Some of that has to do with weather,” said Winter, noting that the construction of portions of the grandstand roof will require a stretch of dry weather.
Winter said there would be no additional costs to the district.
Montesano had already rescheduled three of its five varsity home games — Sept. 13 against Cascade Christian, Sept. 26 (a Thursday night) against Woodland and the homecoming contest Oct. 18 against Tenino — for Aberdeen’s Stewart Field.
Still to be determined are the dates and locations for the mid-October contest against Rochester and the scheduled Nov. 1 Civil War with Elma.
Winter said there are conflicts at Stewart Field for those dates and — like the Woodland game — one or both may have to played on a Thursday night.
“It’s disappointing,” said Winter. “It’s especially disappointing to those seniors who were looking forward to a chance to play at their home field this season. That is the biggest disappointment for us.”
The district is still hoping to play junior varsity football and girls soccer games on Jack Rottle field, and with any luck the grandstands will be ready for the start of track and field season.