Right up until about 5 p.m. Friday, Mid-Columbians held great hope two of their high schools would be celebrating state football championships by the end of the weekend.
Kamiakin suffered a big loss to 3A juggernaut Bellevue on Friday evening, and Connell lost a heartbreaker to Cascade Christian on Saturday afternoon. So while both teams had great seasons, 2010 ended in disappointment.
But win or lose, players, family, friends, alums and fans support their teams. This is no more evident than it was this weekend on SportsTriCities.com, the Herald's high school sports site.
We ran live chats during each of the championship games, with sportswriters Craig Craker and Kevin Anthony providing play by play and instant analysis. More than 350 fans (for Kamiakin and Bellevue) joined us Friday afternoon, and many of them stuck around long after the game was pretty much decided by halftime. In fact, they posted nearly 600 comments, almost all of which were positive.
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On Saturday, we suspect most of the town of Connell was in the Tacoma Dome. Despite that, nearly 150 fans joined the chat and left more than 550 comments. In fact, the first person on the chat was a Connell graduate living in Holland.
Herald photojournalist Kai-Huei Yau was in the Tacoma Dome for both games. He posted two galleries during the Kamiakin-Bellevue tilt, publishing 62 photos from the first half and 51 photos from the second half. After dealing with a slow Internet connection, he got the galleries on the site late Friday night. On Saturday, fans looked at the 113 photos nearly 30,000 times.
On Saturday, Kai posted an 83-photo gallery after the Connell game. It went up just before 8 p.m., yet it still received nearly 4,700 page views. Today, it is tracking to receive more than 10,000 page views.
Regardless of how much hardware their teams bring back over the mountains, the community is proud.