FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Lathrop Malemutes football program will be making an appearance to the state championship game for the first time since 1985. After sweeping the Railbelt Conference, the Malemutes earned the right to host their Division II semifinal playoff game against the Eagle River Wolves. The home team did not show much hospitality, as Lathrop ran over the Wolves 54-10, advancing to the state title game for the first time in nearly 35 years.
Lathrop relied on their quarterback and potential Division II offensive player of the year, Jace Henry, as they had all year long. The human highlight reel was responsible for six Lathrop touchdowns, one through the air and five on the ground, including a 72-yard burst in the first quarter that inflated the Malemute lead. By the end of the opening frame, Lathrop had the game in their hands, leading 34-0. Andre Williams shined on special teams, returning a punt 54-yards for a touchdown. Everything was going right for the purple and gold.
"We are really humbled, proud and just honored to be able to represent Fairbanks this coming weekend," Head coach Luke Balash said after the victory. "It was really sweet to host a home playoff game, couldn't ask for a better day of weather and all those things. We are excited to have a chance just to go down and represent and take on the monster that is SoHi [Soldotna] and we will put it together and give it our best shot and see what we got."
Lathrop will take on the seven-time defending state champion Soldotna Stars in Anchorage next weekend for the Division II state championship.
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