Despite opening their season to perennial flag football powerhouse Dimond — which extended its winning streak to 18 games with a 48-0 shutout over Eagle River on Saturday, Aug. 24 — the Wolves are staying positive.
Holding a nine-point lead at halftime, head coach Jason Brewer challenged seniors Peter Kott and Ed Hall to cement Eagle River’s first win of the 2013 football season. Challenge met.
Jon Schroeder might not be running the Mustangs flag football program anymore, but the team is still benefitting from the groundwork laid by the longtime Chugiak coach. Of the 17 on varsity, 11 are seniors, including all eight returners. New coach Marilyn Campnell said the team’s experience makes her job a little easier.
Anyone who pays attention to Chugiak High football knows Jake Brownlee and Kenny Pegues are two of the team’s leaders. On Friday, Aug. 23, they showed why. The seniors anticipated West’s final play of the game, which ended 14-7 in favor of Chugiak after Brownlee’s one-handed sack of Eagles quarterback Tyrone Davis on fourth down in overtime at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.
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.
Eagle River High is hoping to accomplish something this year no other varsity football team has in seven seasons — make the playoffs. Oh, and beat Chugiak. Fulfilling the latter will help achieve the former, especially this season. Thanks to North Pole and Juneau-Douglas dropping to the Medium Schools division, five of the eight Cook Inlet Conference teams will make state. That means just three conference wins will likely secure the fifth seed — or at the least put a team in a tiebreaker situation.
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.
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.