In Shelton, the entire community was abuzz Thursday with anticipation of Friday night's high-school football game between the Shelton High Climbers and the Cougars of Central Kitsap High School.
It has been a difficult month for the High Climbers after part of their sports complex was destroyed by an arsonist on Labor Day weekend.
Along with the portion of the sports complex, all of the football team's practice pads, equipment, and practice uniforms were destroyed. But, they've worked hard to be ready when they take the field Friday night.
Prior the fire, the school was on the verge of completing a beautiful 2,000 square foot sports complex.
“A lot of people were involved, and a lot of the coaches, and it was a big exciting piece for the new school,” said Mishawn Ewart, a student.
“The project we had underway was a multiple use facility. It was going to service football, fastpitch and baseball,” said Jim Judson, High Climbers Athletic Director.
But that complex has been ruined. It was burned to the ground by an arsonist.
“Now that it's burned down, it's brought down a lot of the student class especially since a lot of people were involved,” said Ewart.“Arson. That's really what it comes down to. And you can't find any rhyme or reason for why that would happen,” pondered Judson.
As of September 15, Shelton police had not identified any suspects. They had released photos of two cars, and were hopeful someone could identify them. It was unclear whether the cars were involved in the arson.
“It's sad that someone would do that to our school district after knowing how much work the community had put in,” said Wayne Massie, Shelton Schools Superintendent.
Despite the tragedy, players tried to put that all out of mind and focus on Friday’s game, a game that was voted Q-It Up Sports Game of the Week.
“When you're reeling from loss, to have something positive like an opportunity to bring TV coverage to a home athletic contest which we hope will be the case,” said Judson. “I think it has galvanized our community and gave them something to say ‘hey yeah, let's show who Shelton is and let's win this and bring the Q13 game of the week out here to the Shelton community.’"