The Redington Huskies have had an unusual season with only one varsity game, a handful of junior varsity matchups and now a trip to the postseason. But unusual has been the typical for sports in 2020 in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s been a really interesting season,” Redington head coach Mathias Weinberger said. “That’s the same for every program in Alaska. We’re fortunate we get to play.”
Redington opens the Division III postseason Saturday at noon at Valdez. It’s one of a pair of DIII quarterfinals contents. Defending state champion Houston is at Nikiski Saturday at 2 p.m.
Redington finished 0-1 in varsity competition during the regular season, falling to rival Houston 35-14 in the opener. The Huskies led the Hawks 14-0, but then Redington was hit with injuries. Between the varsity and junior varsity games that night, Weinberger said the program lost its top three quarterbacks due to injury.
The injuries combined with a decline in overall participation forced the Huskies down a different trail. Redington was originally scheduled to also play Division I Colony and Wasilla, and Division II Palmer during a prep football schedule that restricted local teams to competition only against programs within the Mat-Su Borough School District due to the COVID-19 pandemic and district mitigation plans. The Huskies played a predominantly junior varsity schedule instead.
“We got some experience,” Weinberger said. “We wanted to make sure our younger kids got on the field and got the development.”
Weinberger said the Huskies did what the could to get the young players some game action, while working to stay healthy with the hope that the team would be considered for some type of playoff.
ASAA settled on a three-week, six-team format for the Division III level. The Homer Mariners and Monroe Catholic Rams received first-round byes. Homer is currently on quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure. If cleared to play the Mariners will play the Redington-Valdez winner in the semifinals.. Monroe is slated to play the Houston-Nikiski winner in the other semifinal.
Redington’s opponent, Valdez, scored a 28-16 win over Eielson on Sept. 26.
“They’ve had some success this year,” Weinberger said of Valdez.
Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at email@example.com.