PALMER — As teams are ready to kick-off the 2021 season Friday, Alaska high school football will have a new look once again. The Alaska Schools Activities Association reclassified the sport during the offseason, and now Colony is the last Mat-Su teams standing in ASAA’s Division I level.
Colony is now part of a single-conference division that features eight teams. The group also includes Bartlett, Dimond, East Anchorage, Service, South Anchorage, West Anchorage and Juneau. A three-week postseason was kept, and all eight teams will be placed in a bracket based on the regular season standings.
“You’ve got to play everyone,” Colony head coach Robbie Nash said during his team’s practice Wednesday evening. “If you’re going all of the way in DI, you’ve got to play the big teams sooner or later.”
The knock for the Knights is seven of their regular season games are in conference. That leaves only one nonconference game a year.
“It’s tough that we don’t get to play both of our crosstown rivals. We only get to play one of them,” Nash said.
Colony will face Wasilla during the fourth week of the 2021 season, and will not play Palmer.
Wasilla and Chugiak dropped from the Division I to DII level with the latest reclassification effort. The move reunites Wasilla and Palmer, who have a rivalry that dates back to 1979. The Warriors and the Moose are now part of the five-team Division II Northern Lights Conference that also includes Chugiak, Eagle River and eight-time defending state champion Soldotna.
Division I is Alaska’s only single-conference level in football. Division II also has the four-team Railbelt, which includes Lathrop, North Pole, Kodiak and West Valley.
There are also two conferences at the Division III level. The Mid-Alaska features Mat-Su programs Houston and Redington, as well as Barrow, Homer and Kenai. The Denali Conference features Eielson, Monroe Catholic, Nikiski, Seward and Valdez.
Three of the Valley’s five teams host games Friday night, and there is an all-Valley matchup during the opening week. Houston, the 2019 Division III state champion, welcomes Wasilla to Houston High Friday at 7 p.m. Lathrop is at Palmer Friday at 7 p.m. Redington is hosting Kodiak Friday at 7.
Colony is making the trip to the capitol city to face Juneau Saturday at 3 p.m.
Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.