BOTHELL — They came with hard hats, hot sausages and cold drinks.
They climbed five flights of still-under-construction stairs with their hard hats, their hot sausages and their cold drinks to see the Seahawks — to see the Seahawks play for the first time here at Bothell’s Pop Keeney Stadium, where a sold-out crowd of 4,500 turned out for the team’s mock game Saturday afternoon.
The most exclusive vantage point of the action below belonged to Tom Williams and a small group of co-workers from GenCap Construction and MaintStreet Property Group. They were standing on top of The Pop, a 120-unit apartment complex scheduled to be completed in November, and late in Saturday’s game they were sizing up a Jason Myers field-goal attempt.
During a half-dozen warmup field goals earlier, Myers had kicked balls over netting behind the south-end goal posts, out of the stadium and off the façade of the apartment building 15 yards beyond. His fourth warmup kick connected, gulp, with a window, drawing a hearty cheer from the crowd. The window remained intact.
Now, as Myers lined up a 24-yard field goal near the end of the game, the rooftop crew wondered aloud if another window might be in danger.
“There it is!” Williams yelled as Myers’ kick went through the uprights, over the netting and off the building again.
The windows remained safe (for now).
Russell Wilson remained on the field signing autographs after the game, after he had met with the media and declared the team’s first visit to Pop Keeney a success.
“This was cool,” the quarterback said. “We should do this more often. … It felt like a state championship-type game.”
Pete Carroll had wanted to make the mock game something of a simulated road game, with a half-hour bus ride from the team’s Renton headquarters and a game-day-like feeling.
“This was really a nice event for us, and I hope it was also for the fans and for the people of Bothell,” Carroll said. “This is a great little stadium right here, great tradition and all, and it made it a really special day for us too.”
Fans had started tailgating several hours before the start of the 1:30 p.m. mock game, and the nearby McMenamins Anderson School parking lot was already almost full when Joe Moats began his shift doing security in the lot at 8 a.m.
The 72 rooms at the McMenamins hotel were sold out for Saturday night (owing in part to a wedding also scheduled there Saturday — congratulations to Frank and Samantha).
The line to get in the stadium snaked around the parking lot and out to Bothell Way two blocks away. Bothell resident Patty Harrison, a 1978 graduate of Inglemoor High School, arrived with her family for her first football game at Pop Keeney in decades. She had regularly attended games here when her boyfriend and future husband, Steve, played receiver for Inglemoor way back when.
“We used to smoke behind those bleachers,” she said with a laugh. “It’s a lot different now.”
Kristal Bennett drove down from Bellingham to see Saturday’s mock game, two weeks after having her Hyundai Accent custom decorated with an oversized Seahawks decal on each set of doors. Bennett wore a Kam Chancellor jersey and snagged a half-dozen autographs from players.
“I had so much fun,” she said.
That was a theme throughout the day.
“That was awesome,” said Bothell Mayor Andy Rheaume, watching the game from the northwest corner of the stadium with members of the city staff. “I hope they come back next year.”