Madras High school and the White Buffalo soccer program were part of history Friday.
“This is big for all of us because homecoming games are usually football and now it’s soccer,” said MHS senior Gilbert Palacios. “It’s the first time ever done so,. It’s pretty exciting.”
The scheduled homecoming football game versus The Dalles was canceled due to the Riverhawks not having enough players.
That led to the crowning of the king and queen during a soccer game for the first time in Madras High School history.
“It’s crazy. It’s history. It’s an honor to come out here and play for homecoming in front of the whole community,” said MHS senior Gustavo Santellano.
At first, boys head coach Clark Jones said he didn’t want the team playing on homecoming and didn’t want a big distraction during a game that would decide the league champions.
“Then I was approached by my team leadership and they were really excited, eyes as big as saucers and said ‘Come on, Jones. We have to play under the lights,” said Jones.
Under the lights they played, shining a spotlight on a very successful program that feels like they don’t always get the recognition they deserve.
“It’s going to be something where the kids really want to put on a good show, play a good game and they really want to get out there and show the community what they are all about and they are about a lot of good things,” said Jones.
A dream come true for one program and heartbreak for another.
“We really feel for our football team,” said MHS athletic Director Daniel Barendse. “The seniors do not get an opportunity to have one last game because we are away next week and that is the end of the season.”
“All the seniors were crying. They were crushed,” said MHS junior football player Tyler Clarkson. “It kind of brought everything down after that, but I think we will be ready next week.”
The change of sports and cold weather and rain didn’t stop the community from filling the stands to watch history being made.
The homecoming crown was delivered to the head of a soccer player on a night not likely to repeat itself, but one to be remembered by Palacios and the soccer program.
“It does feel different because it has never happened during a soccer game,” said Palacios. “So, it’s pretty cool.”
The White Buffalos defeated the Dalles 3-2 to become the Tri-Valley League champions.
They are now 9-2, ranked No. 4 at the 4A level.