Sports

Some lessons are harder to learn than others.

Chugiak’s football team suffered a crushing 39-36 overtime loss Saturday to Service in a game first-year head coach Ryan Landers said was encouraging despite its heartbreaking ending.

“We did a lot of good things tonight,” said Landers, who fell to 0-2 in his first season leading his alma mater.

Warm-ups are over.

After their second straight rout of a Division III opponent, the Eagle River Wolves football team will face their first major hurdle of the season Saturday, Aug. 25 when Northern Lights Conference foe Kodiak visits town for homecoming at the Wolves’ Den in Eagle River.

“This was just a step along the way,” said Eagle River head coach Bob Adkins after his team thrashed defending Alaska Division III champion Barrow 50-3 in a nonconference clash Saturday afternoon in Eagle River.

Two very different tales unfolded Friday as Chugiak and Eagle River got their 2018 high school football seasons underway.

In Houston, the Wolves broke things open in the second half to roll to a convincing nonconference win over the Hawks, while at Chugiak a young Mustangs squad found itself learning a brusing lesson against a determined East side.

WOLVES DEVOUR HAWKS

Division II Eagle River dominated Division III Houston at Houston High, turning an 8-0 halftime lead into a 42-12 blowout.

Chugiak head coach Ryan Landers stood in the rain at midfield on the team’s first day of football practice.

“Well, it’s not the first day …” Landers said.

He meant he’s been preparing for the 2018 season since getting the job this spring, but Landers could have been going much further back.

In fact, Landers’s first practice as a Mustang came nearly two decades ago when he strapped on the pads as a freshman in 1994.

“This is where I was born and raised, and I bleed black and blue,” he said.

As the team’s fifth head coach since 2005, Bob Adkins knows much of his job is trying to grow tradition at a program that’s had precious little success over the years. It’s a challenge the UAF grad welcomes.

“You have to build a culture because when you build a culture the kids know what to expect,” he said.

Chugiak has a distinctively new look this season, but in many ways it’s still going to be the same old black and blue at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium.

Gone are the team’s star player, its head coach and several key cogs from last year’s state semifinalist squad. But the sidelines still won’t look that much different, with a former Mustang taking over the head coaching job and plenty of pieces returning from a team that spent much of 2017 atop the statewide football poll.

Eagle River wants to make history.

A perennial also-ran, the Wolves have never reached the state playoffs since beginning varsity play in 2006. But with a speedy, senior-laden group on Yosemite Drive this season, that could change.

“We set our goal to make the playoffs,” said quarterback Ryan Adkins.

(Updated Aug. 8, 2018)

An upset-minded Chugiak-Eagle River Chinooks squad fell just short in its attempt to upend the Alaska Baseball League regular season champion Mat-Su Miners Wednesday, falling in the first two games of their best-of-three ABL playoff series at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer.

The Chinooks — who qualified for the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons since moving to Chugiak in 2012 — dropped the Aug. 1 opener 5-4 and fell in the second game 5-3 the following day.

Sheryl Loan and Jason Lamoreaux captured the Tour of Anchorage titles Sunday after the fifth and final race of the annual bicycle stage race.

The victory marked Loan’s 12th Tour of Anchorage championship — by far the most in the history of the event, which dates back to 1984 Next on the list is Tim Lamb, who owns a record eight men’s titles, the last of them coming in 2003.

The Knik Little League’s Intermediate All-Stars advanced to the Western Regional Tournament in Tempe, Arizona, by winning the Alaska District 1 championship. The team finished fourth in the region, dropping their final game 16-9 to Northern California.

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