FAIRBANKS-Three Interior football teams won their playoff games this weekend.
NORTH POLE 47 KENAI 14
The medium schools semifinals was between the North Pole Patriots and Kenai Kardinals. In the second quarter the game was tied 14-14 but Dew Rodgers breaks the tie with a nifty run to the endzone fro the Patriots. It was all North Pole from there. The defense went to another level shutting out Kenai from that point on. Rodgers scored five total touchdowns, four on the ground as the Patriots scored 33 unanswered points en route to a 47-14 win.
"[We're] just doing what we got to do. We all come together and that's what we all plan to do. Play hard, do our best, do everything we can," senior linebacker Nick Rice said.
"I was so excited for our defense at the Colony game they showed out and definitely put in work so I'm glad that our defense is growing up and showing out," Skipps said.
Deundre Campbell had 146 rush yards and a touchdown, Lafi Skipps added 91 yards on just seven carries. North Pole rolls into the state title game against Soldotna.
"Going to state, the nostalgia of going to state, that in itself is just amazing. Being here, getting another week with these guys? We're not there for the trophy. We're here for each other," Rodgers said.
North Pole's win came at a price. In a bizarre occurrence head coach Rich Henert was ejected late in the first quarter as North Pole received two unsportsmanlike calls for illegal uniform accessories which were team rubber bands. No love from the refs as North Pole had 13 penalties to Kenai's three at the half. Kenai was even penalized on the second half kickoff for not coming to the field on time after the halftime break.
Henert will not be allowed to be near Dimond High School when the Patriots take on Sohi for the state title this Saturday. It's the first state title game for North Pole since 2004.
LATHROP 24 CHUGIAK 12
Lathrop hosted the Chugiak Mustangs on Saturday night. Lathrop had a huge 24 point second quarter Ryan Perdue went off with a touchdown catch kickoff returned 78 yards for a touchdown, and two picks.
The Malemutes led 24-12 at the half. Both defenses went into shutdown mode after that as Lathrop wins 24-12. The Mutes advance to the semis against West Anchorage this Saturday. A rematch of last year's quarterfinals.
EIELSON 41 BARROW 6
In the small schools semifinal the Eielson Ravens punched their ticket to title game with a solid 41-6 victory over Barrow on Saturday. Eielson got it done on both sides of the ball. Kalib Dunlap was a force with three touchdowns for the Ravens. Anthony Griffith added had a pick-six, 106 rush yards and a touchdown on the ground. Now Eielson will face the Nikiski Bulldogs this Saturday for the small schools state title.
Eielson is 8-0 and Nikiski is 8-1. Their only loss was to the Ravens. This will be a rematch of last year's semifinal and a rubber match from the 2012 state title game.