FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The first taste of high school football action takes place this weekend with week one. The only game in the Interior for this week is the Blood Bowl, between the Eielson Ravens and the North Pole Patriots.
Separated by a few miles, these two teams have built a rivalry over the years. This game will also serve as the Buck Nystrom Memorial game. Nystrom is the winningest coach in Alaska high school football history, winning 150 games in a 31 year span between both North Pole and Eielson.
The two teams had very different seasons from each other last year. The Ravens posted a 9-1 record and went on to win the Division III State Championship, while North Pole went winless in the conference.
However, the Patriots come in with a new coach and new pieces to work with. Mike Hollett has been a long time North Pole resident, and looks forward to taking the reins.
"Loyalty is a big deal to met and so being able to take over a program that I already loved, it makes it a little more special," Hollett said. "Being a head coach is really cool thing, but I don't know if I would love it as much if I wasn't here at North Pole. Being able to invest in this community, knowing this community is investing in not only this football team, but my kids personally. They've grown up on this practice field, hanging out with players and now having the opportunity to take a step forward and be a leader of that is really cool."
The Blood Bowl is set for 7 p.m. Friday at North Pole High School.