Lessons can be learned both on and off the field. On a recent trip to the Kenai Peninsula, the Chugiak Mustangs got a chance to do both.
A scrimmage against the defending Medium Schools division champion Soldotna Stars provided the humbling lesson on the turf, while the bus trip to the Central Peninsula gave the team a chance to learn a bit more about each other.
“I think it was a great experience for our team bonding,” said senior Ian Stover, one of a large group of Chugiak players who have come up through the youth and high school ranks together.
Eagle River football’s new pack leader hopes to bring new snarl to the Wolves’ program.
“What we’re trying to do is change the culture and get a winning mentality,” said Bob Adkins, who took over the program this season after spending two years as an assistant under Matt Turner.
Turner is now coaching special teams at Bartlett, and Adkins has brought in an almost entirely new crop of assistant coaches to help him take his shot at turning around a program that has now had five head coaches but never a winning season since starting varsity play in 2006.
Chugiak isn’t exactly easing its way into the 2017 prep football season.
After scrimmaging 2016 Medium Schools champion Soldotna in an Aug. 5 tune-up, the Mustangs will open their season for real against East — which won the 2016 Large Schools title.
“It’ll definitely be a test,” said Chugiak head coach Roger Spackman.
It’s one Chugiak’s players are ready for. Just two years removed from the Large Schools title game and coming off a Railbelt Conference championship, the Mustangs feel they belong in the conversation as one of the state’s top teams.
Chugiak fell in heartbreaking fashion on a rainy Tuesday night at Mulcahy Stadium, losing to Service 7-6 in the opening round of the Alaska American Legion Baseball State Tournament on a walk-off single in the 11th inning.
Service’s Cooper Bailey-Parsons scored the game-winning run on a one-out single by Jaren Childs off Chugiak reliever Braden Shackelford.
Bears were spotted getting into trash in a neighborhood not far from the Bear Paw Festival grounds Saturday, July 15.
Laura Simkins lives on Echo Street, which is about a half-mile from downtown Eagle River. She recorded video of a black bear in a neighbor’s yard at around 3 p.m. Saturday, and said she hopes people will be wary of bears during the ongoing festival. Simkins said several bears had been spotted Saturday getting into bird feed and garbage cans.
Some scofflaw’s shoreside snacks sullied the Eagle River Sunday, evidence of an ill-advised — and illegal — Chugach State Park camping trip that could have resulted in penalties ranging from fines to flesh wounds for the unseen camper(s) hidden inside the red tent pitched in a too-late-to-be-shady spot beneath the Briggs Bridge.
The Army picked the right morning to hold a big event.
“What a beautiful day,” said Gen. Robert Brown, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, who was in town to preside over a change of command ceremony for U.S. Army Alaska (USARAK).
Taking the unit colors under a dazzling blue sky Wednesday was Maj. Gen. Mark O’Neil, who has served as Brown’s chief of staff since May of 2016. O’Neil takes over for Maj. Gen. Bryan Owens, who is retiring from the Army after 34 years of service.