A dream of many high school football players is to play pro ball.
Well, players on North Kitsap and Klahowya made it part way there, getting to play on a pro field Sept. 17 — Lumen Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.
The North Kitsap Vikings were anxious to compete at Lumen Field. “About 100 kids suited so they are all giddy,” coach Jeff Weible said. “We told them to block all the stuff out. The field is the same size as North Kitsap, and we got to come out and play.”
The fans were just as eager to cheer on their squads as student sections filled the lower sections of Lumen Field. “The fans are excited about it, and we certainly want to play our best here,” Weible said.
The one-of-a-kind experience went further than the players on the field. Besides watching the football teams, students and parents had the opportunity to see their school’s cheerleaders and band perform on the same field that is known for its wild atmosphere.
“This is where the Seahawks play, so for my school team to come out here and play where the real professionals play, it’s more motivation to win,” student Logan Wagner of Klahowya said.
Another student, Aidan Mathewson, said, “It’s crazy for me being a Seahawks fan but even crazier for the players on the team because it’s their dream to play on this football field.”
Klahowya cheerleaders Autumn Corey and Lily Schramek had their own experience representing the Eagles on the sidelines of the huge stadium.
“It’s just an honor to be performing here since I’m only in high school, and we are going to an NFL stadium and being able to do what we love to do,” Corey said.
Schramek added: “I know we are a little school but we are very mighty. We can come out here and show we can compete with these bigger schools.”
Although Klahowya fell to Tenino 62-14, the Eagles were grateful for the opportunity to prove themselves on the biggest stage. “That’s what makes it more special for Klahowya,” cheer coach Katy Teer said. “It’s time for us to show everyone in Washington who we are.”
North Kitsap had a better day, winning 52-0 on the same field where the Seahawks upset Denver less than a week before in Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle.
High above them were the names of Seahawk greats who are in the Ring of Honor: Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy, Walter Jones, Shaun Alexander, Matt Hasselbeck, Kenny Easley, and more. Cheerleaders performed on the Seahawks logo at halftime, just like Seattle’s professional cheer squad — the Seagals.
Playbook Sports, a New Jersey-based youth sports software company, originally planned to host games at professional stadiums to market itself and its software products. In addition, it organized a two-day event to bring Washington high school football back to the professional scene for the first time since 2019.
“Lumen has been incredible with this experience,” said Josh Marcus, CEO of Playbook Sports. “Lumen really wants to do this for the community, and we’re very happy to be a part of it.”
Playbook Sports is familiar with Lumen Field, organizing sporting events there in recent history.
“These events are an amazing experience for the kids, coaches and parents,” Marcus said. “Lumen is one of the most iconic stadiums in the country.”
Lumen and Playbook Sports took months planning the event for the high school football teams. Over 10 Playbook Sports employees took a 3,000-mile-long flight to be a part of it, while Lumen Field employees strategized how to perfect the experience.
“It really was a challenge to get these games to happen,” Marcus said.
Playbook Sports wants to make high school football at Lumen Field an annual event. “We hope that this is a home run for everyone involved and that Lumen would want us back and to provide this opportunity for kids in the Seattle area,” Marcus said.