HS football rewind




 As the top dogs in Alaska prep football start to separate themselves from the pack, the usual suspects are in the highest tier.

Bartlett, Soldotna, Ketchikan.

Wait. Hold on a second.

Ketchikan?

Bartlett and Soldotna are defending state champions at the Division I and II levels. We knew they’d be there.

But Ketchikan?

The Kings finished 0-8 last season as a Division II program. But after a drop to Division III, the Kings have played themselves back into Alaska football relevancy. Midway through the season, Ketchikan is 3-0, and has outscored opponents 190-38. Ketchikan already has its most wins in a season since 2014.

So are the Kings simply bigger fish in a smaller pond?

Ketchikan has about as many upperclassmen, 19, as some DIII programs have players.

Back-to-back games against the teams that played for a Division III title last season turned into a pair of big wins for Houston. After a 30-6 win over defending state champion Barrow, Houston followed with a 59-0 victory over Homer, last year’s runner-up.

Houston’s reward?

A long flight to Ketchikan and a game against the Kings Friday.

Bartlett extended its state-best winning streak to nine games with a 59-41 win over Colony last week. Bartlett is also piling up the points, 195 to date. On paper, it’s an 18-point victory for the Bears. In reality, it was much more interesting than you’d expect from a game with a margin of victory of more than two touchdowns. The teams were tied at 28 at the half, and the Chugach Conference rivals combined to rush for about 900 yards.

Bartlett co-head coach Daniel Esparza had high praise for the Knights following the win, telling the Frontiersman, “Those guys played their butts off over at Colony. They’re a well-coached team. I was really impressed with them and their offense, the quarterback is a stud.”

The aforementioned stud, senior Eric Christy, a first-year starting quarterback, rushed for 174 yards and tossed a pair of touchdown passes. Another senior Zane Vrvilo added about 150 yards rushing and four scores.

Colony’s 41 points are the most allowed to an Alaska program by the Bears this season. Baldwin, Hawaii, scored 55 during a 77-55 loss to Bartlett early in the year.

Bartlett and Colony could be poised for nice playoff runs this year, and Bartlett is obviously the team to beat at Alaska’s DI level.

After a hiccup in Week 1, Soldotna is back to its typical self. The 18-13 loss to West Anchorage snapped SoHi’s 59-game winning streak, then the second longest current streak in the nation. Since the loss, Soldotna has destroyed a trio of Fairbanks-area opponents. The Stars have outscored North Pole (66-19), Lathrop (50-21) and West Valley (62-18) by a combined margin of 178-58.

Bartlett, Soldotna and Ketchikan have combined to score 576 points during the first half of the season.

Contact Frontiersman editor Jeremiah Bartz at sports@frontiersman.com.

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