By Ken at the Paper | Prep sports
A pregame flyover by the Bass Lake community helicopter turned Bass Lake High School’s Friday night home opener into a home not opener.
The game between the Bass Lake Canoes and Central Central High had to be called off when the helicopter unexpectedly landed mid-field and shut down. The pilot, Bass Lake Authority Police Chief Gwen “Tug” McNabb, tried repeatedly to restart the recently repaired chopper. But those attempts failed.
The plan was to have the helicopter circle the stadium and kick up dust while the Canoes did their annual paddle-walk onto the field as part of the home opener extravaganza. But something went wrong.
“Something went wrong,” chief McNabb announced through a megaphone amid boos from the nearly 75 fans gathered for the game, which the Canoes were favored to win by at least a safety.
Canoes coach Zeb Dreppelin, still reeling from his team’s 54-0 drubbing at the hands of the Corner County Monsters at last week’s season opener, was unavailable for comment mostly because of the reeling.
Former Canoes standout Vin Diagram, who was among those on board the helicopter when it landed, said the postponement of the game could be a plus for the 0-1 Bass Lake squad.
“More practice time never hurt anyone,” said Diagram, who spent all four of his BLHS years as starting quarterback and free safety. “Plus it’ll give Coach time to stop careening all over the place.”
Also postponed was the much anticipated halftime show during which the Bass Lake Marching Canoes were to perform a Medley of Buggles Hit. Lead trombonist for the band, Jimmy “Slide” Messerschmidt, took the cancellation of the show in stride.
“More practice time never hurt anyone,” Messerschmidt said. “Plus it’ll give director Nesmith time to update his record collection.”
The fate of the helicopter remains uncertain. Just days after final repairs were made following a late-July plunge into Bass Lake Lake, this most recent episode may sway public support for the helicopter. McNabb, who was also at the controls during the July incident, denied responsibility.
“I’m not sure what happened,” McNabb said after exiting the aircraft. “Hell, I didn’t even bring my gun with me this time so it could be anything. How we’re going to get the thing out of here is anyone’s guess. We may have to airlift it.”
In other Canews, the Bass Lake harriers took sixth at the Michiana Regional Cross Country meet Friday afternoon.