OTHELLO - The true test of character is how you conduct yourself when no one is watching. Play for community pride. Play for your teammates. Play for the love of the game.
What’s it going to be? Get in or get out.
The Othello Huskies went from great joy to great sorrow at different points in the 2018 season. The good, the bad and the ugly, as Huskies assistant Kevin Hensley calls it. But they never stopped playing, never stopped preparing hard, never quit.
“We had our moments. There was times when we were on a roll and unbeatable, I felt. Then where times when we’d get our tails kicked,” he said. “It was a Dr. Jekyll-and-Hyde type of season. It was encouraging to see we had the potential to play with the best, and humbling to know that we were just as susceptible as anyone else.”
Othello dropped two of its three opening, nonleague games, of the season, to including the three-time 1A state champions from Royal. But picked up a win over a scrappy Connell team that had thumped the year before was a sign of potential.
A loss to Ephrata in the Central Washington Athletic Conference ment they had to go to Ellensburg and beat the Bulldogs at home, a task they hadn’t done in years. But Ellensburg proved to be a defining moment. BJ Garza Jr.’s 27-yard field goal as time ran out put the defending CWAC North champions back in the conference title discussion,
Ellensburg came back and won a Kansas tiebreaker to claim the CWAC North title. Ephrata was second and the HUskies were the odd man out in the process. The thing is, there was still two games remaining on the schedule and no chance of playing in the postseason. That’s where they found out who they really were.
“When there’s really nothing to play for, then what are you playing for? Our guys played for each other. They played for the program and the community. It gave them a real purpose,” Hensley said.
Othello took one on the chin against an angry Selah team that was pushed out of the CWAC South picture, but has the presence of mind, the heart to finish the season with a strong win over Cheney in a game that mattered only to those involved.
“I would say Ellensburg was our most meaningful win,” Hensley said. “But I’m going to say our last game, I think they played with a lot more freedom and a lot more heart.
“Looking back on it now, Cheney was a big game for us. It was what I was hoping to see all along. Good execution, playing together as a team, playing with class, taking care of business together. I saw a lot of maturity in our kids and it came together in a game that didn’t matter in the standings.”
The Huskies finished the season 5-5 and 3-1 in the CWAC North. But even more importantly, they finished on a high note with something to build on.