Since the state football playoffs were expanded to eight teams in 1993, Chugiak has never missed postseason play in three consecutive seasons. To avoid earning that dubious distinction this year, the Mustangs know they need to improve in all areas of the game.
Five of the eight Cook Inlet Conference teams will earn berths in this year’s ASAA Alaska First National Bowl Large Schools Football playoffs. The change (four CIC teams got in last year) was made after Juneau-Douglas and North Pole opted to move to the Medium Schools division.
Duncan Shackelford thinks 20 years is just right. “It’s not like I’m hanging up the whistle forever, I just don’t want to be a head coach forever,” said Shackelford, 53, during an interveiw between scrimmages at last week’s Chugiak Stampede.
Chugiak opens its 2013 season with the same opponent as 2012. The Mustangs hope the similarities end there. “We definitely want to see what we can do with that West Valley game,” said Chugiak offensive lineman Ted Carlson. The nonconference tilt is set for Saturday, Aug. 17 at 3 p.m. at Chugiak’s Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.
Chugiak Post 33 dropped its only two games at the American Legion Northwest Region Tournament in Oregon. On Aug. 8, the Mustangs dropped an 8-1 decision to tournament hoset Eugene, Ore. Chugiak’s Deven Ferriss scored the team’s lone run when he walked, stole second and third and was singled home by Zach Brueggemann.
By next year, Eagle River High is hoping its stadium will be complete — for football anyway. The school plans to use a $1.4 million grant from the Alaska Legislature to add grandstand seating for 1,500 fans, a press box, lighting, a PA system, fencing around the field and relocate the existing concession stand. Last year, Eagle River used a $130,000 grant from the Legislature to add bleacher seating for about 400.
Last year, Jason Brewer brought a new team motto, “brotherhood,” to Eagle River High’s football program. One way he helped strengthen that bond was by holding a preseason sleepaway camp on Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. The second-year head varsity head coach held the five-day camp again this year — and participation nearly doubled in size. Fifty-four kids were on base the first day of camp Monday, July 29, up from 28 last year.
Eagle River is getting its only nonconference game of the season out of the way early. The Wolves play at North Pole on Saturday, Aug. 17 at 1 p.m. The well-coached Patriots will serve as a measuring stick for the Wolves, head coach Jason Brewer said.