MOSES LAKE — The sun broke through a smoke-filled haze for the first time in three days, like a breath of fresh air, Friday night as Moses Lake football fans gathered at Lions Field.
Washington wildfires continued to burn in various locations throughout the region, throwing a funk over the outdoor activities for the past month. But Friday's game against Hanford was the Chiefs' home opener and nothing was going to spoil the moment.
It was the only game in town, so to speak. Othello and Royal postponed because of the air quality, as did Ephrata, Quincy and others across the Columbia Basin. It was Friday Night Lights in Moses Lake and Chiefs fans rose to the occasion.
The tailgaters staked out their space in the far corner of the parking lot and the good smoke rose from their efforts. The smells of hamburgers and hot dogs cooking on the barbecue drifted over the grassy lot as the fan base filtered in.
Moses Lake High School Associated Student Body president Anna Fair put the word out earlier in the week via Twitter the night would feature a pep rally, a whiteout the tweet said. The students flocked in support, getting in character, getting their Chiefs Pride on.
The face paint started with a series of white dots in a circular fashion, starting over the right eye, down the bridge of the nose and under the left eye. Some showed up with the design already intact, others left it to the face painters, who had set up shop on the tailgate tables.
As the exuberance of youth got into the White Out, the words of Nirvana seemed to take center stage, “It Smells Like Teen Spirit,” so the song goes. The delicate dots of the brush, gave way to globs of white paint on an open palm, and facial hand prints took on the character of the night.
Sophomore Piper Cruz opted for the delicate dots, while Fair took on the full handprint to the right side of her face, a little like war paint on a Cheyenne Dog Soldier. Some like Evan McLean didn't go for the paint at all. But they were there in support of their school and their town.
The Chiefs rewarded their fanbase with their first win of the season with a one-sided victory over Hanford, 31-7.
It was a good night to be a Chiefs fan. A good night for Friday Night Lights at Lions Field, and yeah, the night did smell like teen spirit.