Chugiak flaggers eye state title
After finishing 7-8 and falling to West in the opening round of the Cook Inlet Conference playoffs last year, Chugiak’s flag football team has set the bar high for the 2012 campaign.
“We’re looking to win the championship,” said returner Ashleigh Sitz. “Go all the way this year.”
The Mustangs graduated 18 seniors from the 2011 team, and just a few returners are back who saw significant playing time, said head coach Jon Schroeder.
About half of the program is made up of upperclassmen, Schroder said, and he’s seeing a lot of potential.
“There’s some pretty good players,” he said. “I’m very encouraged with the JV players that have come up.”
Chugiak had about 77 girls on the field at practice Tuesday, Aug. 14. The high numbers of flaggers is a challenge Schroeder said he’s happy to deal with.
“It’s great to have those kinds of problems,” he said. “We’ve got enough for four teams.”
Even with a varsity, JV and two C teams, Schroeder said he’ll likely make some cuts before the start of the season Saturday, Aug. 18. This is the first year cuts have been allowed in flag football.
Though it’s his least favorite part of the job, the large numbers coming out for a sport that only allows seven players on the field at a time has made cuts in flag football necessary, Schroeder said.
“I hate to make cuts,” he said. “But if we’re gonna be a varsity sport, we need to treat it like a varsity sport.”
Chugiak opens against perennial powerhouse Dimond on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.
The Lynx will serve as a measuring stick for Chugiak, said returner Sam Perez, a 2011 First Team All-CIC selection.
“It’s definitely going to be a good starter to see where we’re at,” she said.
Chugiak travels to rival Eagle River on Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Despite all the new faces, Chugiak’s varsity squad is full of former JV players that have plenty of experience, Perez said.
“We have a lot to build on,” she said.
The team is feeling good about its makeup, Sitz said.
“We’re pretty confident,” she said. “We’ve got a great offense going, and our defense is really strong.”
The Mustangs have talented athletes, Perez said. Once everyone learns the basics, Chugiak will be able to play with anyone, she said.
“We’ve got some strong legs,” Perez said. “We just have to get the fundamentals down and we’ll be really good.”
Staying focused throughout the year will be key for success, Sitz said.
“Not let up as the season goes on,” she said.
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or [email protected].