The Houston Hawks sprinted to the edge of North America for an impromptu polar plunge during the third week of Alaska’s prep football season.
Houston players and coaches took a dip in the Arctic Ocean after making a splash on Barrow’s blue turf. It’s all part of a celebration the 2019 edition of the Hawks will always remember, and a exclamation point on school history. Houston beat Barrow 31-6, marking its first win over the Whalers at Cathy Parker Field. Barrow High School received national acclaim as the NFL Network aired the docu-series “Football Town” that featured the Whalers in 2015. The Whalers boast the greatest home field advantage, maybe anywhere in high school football in the country. It’s a turf field along the Arctic Ocean. It’s really cold and you have to watch out for polar bears. Plus the Whalers have tremendous support from the community. Not the easiest place to play.
But in week three, Houston was finally able to overcome that and scored some program history with the victory. So why not take a dip into the Arctic? But beyond that was the way the Hawks notched the win. Houston dominated a Barrow team that has been among the best at the Division III level since ASAA added a third class to prep football. Houston scored 25 unanswered points, and twins Owen and Gavin Mulhaney combined to rush for 323 yards. They also accounted for four total touchdowns.
Despite a small number of total varsity athletes, Houston has established itself as a team to beat in the DIII level in 2019. The Hawks continue on the road this week, and are at Homer for a pivotal Peninsula Conference battle Friday at 7 p.m.
Houston is not the only Valley team traveling afar for some football. With their bags packed once again, the Wasilla Warriors are channeling Willie Nelson. This week, Wasilla is on the road again.
Wasilla first-year head coach Ken Ottinger is also the head coach of the Wasilla Warriors prep baseball team and the Wasilla Road Warriors American Legion baseball squad. Ottinger’s Wasilla football program might as well borrow the legion squad’s name. Wasilla football has been the Road Warriors.
In week two, poor air quality caused by the wild fires burning in Southcentral Alaska cancelled and postponed prep football games. Wasilla was slated to host North Pole. But just hours before the scheduled game time, the Wasilla administration opted to send their Warriors north on the road. Wasilla made the trip to the Interior to face the Patriots. Despite the late change, the Warriors were able to score the win at North Pole.
Last week, Wasilla was back on the road with a date at Kodiak. Thanks to more poor weather, the Warriors were thrown another curve ball. Wasilla was slated to fly to the rock on Thursday and play the Bears on Friday night. But Wasilla spent Thursday and most of Friday sitting at Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage waiting for the green light to board to plane to Kodiak. The Wasilla players and coaches slept at Anchorage Christian School on Thursday night. On Friday, they were one last delay away from being forced to board the bus and head back to Wasilla. Fortunately, after four delays, Wasilla made it to Kodiak and beat the Bears 42-0.
The Warriors are now back on the road this week, bound for Juneau.
Redington is also hosting an interesting Division III matchup, and it could be an important contest in the Aurora Conference. With a win Friday night, Redington will improve to 3-0 for the first time in school history. The Huskies blasted both Nikiski and Seward. Its week two game against Homer was cancelled because of the Swan Lake Fire burning on the Kenai Peninsula. Monroe opened with a slim win over Seward, which suffered with a lopsided loss to Valdez, which was killed by Monroe.
Enough to make you dizzy.
Redington head coach Matt Weinberger said Monroe is a team that can start slow, but builds every week. A win over the Rams could be huge for the Huskies.
Colony scored its first win of the season with a 28-13 victory over rival Palmer last week. The Knights open Chugach Conference play Saturday at 4 p.m. at Chugiak. The Knights endured undoubtedly the toughest start to the season with back-to-back road games against two of the top Division I teams in the state this year, defending state champion East Anchorage and South Anchorage. After the win over the Moose, the Knights face a Mustangs squad off to a great start.
Palmer will work to bounce back from the loss to the Knights against fellow Division II foe Kodiak Friday at 7 p.m. The Moose (1-2) opened the season with games against three straight DI teams.
Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at email@example.com.