“Students from Willapa Valley and PeEll voted to select a new team name/mascot for the combined PeEll-Willapa Valley teams for football, baseball and fastpitch. Students choose from Spartans, Titans, and Patriots, and they could also write in a suggestion. After tabulating the votes, the announcement was made that the winning team mascot is the Titans! Go Titans!” the Willapa website announced.
After the Pe Ell and Willapa Valley school boards passed the sports combine, the merger swiftly got under way. “The process has been moving along quickly. Even for just football there is much to be done, and it's all new with many questions still to decide,” Willapa Valley Superintendent Rob Friese explained.
The colors of the new team will be red, white, and navy blue, very similar to the original colors of both schools.
Last week, Josh Fluke was selected as the head football coach. “He has coached at Pe Ell for the past three or four years and was the head coach last year,” Friese said. “He played and graduated from Valley and was on the 1996 championship team.”
“Practices are still up for discussion,” Friese said in regards to upcoming football practices. “We need to look at the logistics and cost analysis, plus playable fields. Lebam has been discussed as an option also, almost a halfway point.”
Although finances had been a concern, it doesn’t look like the combine will be tapping finances significantly. “Looking at the numbers, when Morton-White Pass combined they actually saved money or at least broke even, according to representatives. When you look at the biggest costs for all sports, it is coaching salaries. If you have half the number of coaches, you have half the costs. Our coaches [for all sporting programs] cost us about $70,000 a year, and Pe Ell is closer to $100,000 because they have baseball coaches. We also have half the games in which to travel. Of course, ASB gates will be impacted with this. But, overall, the costs are not what I would have guessed before doing much research and number crunching,” Friese explained. “Combining in all sports will not be a huge added expense to the district.”
“We are planning to have a combined fundraiser to cover some of the start-up costs. The rest will need to be divided between the ASB and the district. Most all expenses will be divided equally between the districts,” he continued.
As for baseball/softball season, Pe Ell will supply the equipment, although new uniforms will need to be purchased. “But we don't know as of now how many will be interested in baseball/fastpitch from Valley,” Friese said.
The schedule for the 2014 Pe Ell-Willapa Valley football season is listed below:
September 5 Winlock*--@ Pe Ell
12 @ Toledo *
19 Napavine *--@ Valley
26 @ Wahkiakum *
October 3 Mossyrock *--@ Valley
@ Toutle Lake *
@ Adna *
MWP *- THURSDAY night game--@ Pe Ell
November 7 X-Over Game with PBL- Site and opponent is TBA