Rancho Cotate Varsity Football is having a great year. Just ask Wayne Thomas, home field announcer for the Cougars for the past twenty-one seasons.
Nearly forty years ago Thomas was asked first to become involved with the Rancho Cotate Football Program, and then in 1989 to act as the official home field announcer.
“One year led to another,” Thomas says during half time of the NCS Quarterfinal game against Eureka and as the saying goes, he’s been at it ever since.
At the time of this interview, the score was 27-21, Eureka. Either way the game ended he knew this was his last night in the booth. “Seems like the right time. I’d rather go out on a winning season.”
Thomas had initially planned to retire from announcing last year. “I stayed this year because of this team. I thought this team had a chance to win it all.”
The veteran home field announcer will build weekend RV trips with his wife around the games saying it’s common to drive back to the announcer’s booth from places like Willits, Bethel Island or Sacramento, then drive directly after the game to rejoin his wife, who stays behind and near her cell phone, where she’ll watch for texts of game updates.
In relatively recent years, Thomas pulls off the play-by-play with his son, Jeff, who has been assisting since 2000. Thomas says, “He’s ready to take over.”
“That’s the plan!” Jeff responds from across the booth.
At the time of this story, the team, 10 and 1 Overall and 4 and 1 in the League, won against Eureka 38-35 and is moving into the semifinal round of the NCS Championships.