Dome turned Demon orange
CEDAR FALLS — Two days. That is how long it took for Washington High School to sell its allotment of 800 tickets for Thursday’s semifinal game with Solon at the UNI-Dome.
“That speaks volumes about the people we have in our community,” said assistant coach Jay Zieglowsky. “Washington is a town that will do what they can for their kids.”
The Demons didn’t disappoint with a come-from-behind 14-9 win in the final five minutes to secure a berth in the championship, something that has never been done in school history.
“Our support all season has been second to none,”Zieglowsky said. “When you look up into the stands into the sea of orange, it tells you that our fans are passionate about what we do. They are passionate about our kids and our town. It makes us successful. The town loves our kids. They will do whatever they can do to support them.”
Playing in a college dome is something Washington hadn’t experienced in 16 years.
“It is a phenomenal place to play — it is a great atmosphere,” Zieglowsky said. “Anybody who plays football in Iowa, their goal is to play in the Dome. This is the ultimate. Our kids all week said, ‘We’re not satisfied just playing in the Dome. We got another job to do.’”
Athletic director Bryce Smeins also praised the Washington crowd.
“Our community has been great at supporting athletics here,” Smeins said. “We have great support from our students and community.”
Washington has stepped up to support one of the biggest recent local events.
“It’s unbelievable the Demons showed up great tonight in the crowd,” Smeins said. “This town is a great town to coach in, and our crowd has always been really supportive. It has been an awesome week for (the players).”
Former Washington lineman Lawrence Staly, 34, attended the Pella game and the semifinal. He was joined by eight other fans.
“It’s an awesome showing to see however many hundred show up,” Staley said.
After the Pella game he distinctly remembers a long line of cars coming back to Washington.
“It was just really cool watching taillights all the way up as far as you could see,” Staley said. “All of them had Washington plates.”
Staley said he misses playing.
“I love it,” Staley said. “You don’t care how much you are hurt. To go back would be awesome.”
Staley said the UNI-Dome atmosphere was one of a kind.
“When I walked in, a chill went down me,” Staley said.