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Football opener goes flat

"It was a flat night, both figuratively and literally, for Mark Hodson in his first game as head football coach at South Whidbey High School.First, his team came out flat and was never really in the game while losing at Nooksack Valley.To make matters worse, on the way home from the long journey to Whatcom County, the South Whidbey team bus suffered a flat tire in Oak Harbor. Hodson said the flat occurred at 1 a.m. The Oak Harbor police were very helpful, he said, and managed to call an employee of the local Les Schwab tire store who came out and replaced the tire. But the delay resulted in Hodson not getting home from his first game until 4:30 Saturday morning.Margaret Evans, transportation supervisor for the South Whidbey School District, said the school bus ran over a piece of glass which was later pulled out of the tire. Drivers aren't expected to change tires, she said: I hire smart drivers, not strong ones. She couldn't remember any previous flat tire on a school bus taking athletes to or from an event.For the Falcon players, the flat tire may have been the most memorable event of the night. On the field, Hodson said, There weren't any highlights.The Pioneers greeted the Falcons with 12 points in the first quarter, then went on to score 23, 6, and 13 in the ensuing quarters, finishing with a 54-0 win.Despite the loss, Hodson said he saw some positive things on the field. Wide receiver Andy Wills caught 7 passes, and the offensive line gave up very few sacks. Turnovers were a problem, as the Falcons gave up four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.On the technical side, there were no bad snaps and only one off-side call, which pleased Hodson for the first game of the year.The Falcons were troubled by what Hodson called timing things, where a receiver might be in the wrong place at the right time, or a defender a bit out of position.But the new coach wasn't discouraged. It's something brand new they're learning, he said of the system he's installing. We're looking to make ourselves better week to week.The Falcons make their 2001 home debut Friday night at Waterman Field, with kickoff at 7:30 p.m. against defending North Cascades Conference champion Meridian, which went on to win the state AA title.In other conference games last weekend, Meridian pummeled Sultan 52-6, Lynden Christian beat Mount Baker 21-7, Lakewood shut-out Granite Falls 18-0, and Blaine beat Notre Dame of B.C. 51-0. "

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