FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Football is back. Thursday, the Hall of Fame game kicks off the NFL season, and Wednesday, our local high school teams reported to camp for their first official day of practice.
The Lathrop Malemutes began their first practice in full pads, gearing up for the upcoming season.
Last year, the Malemutes fell in the semifinals of the Division II playoffs in a battle with the Eagle River Wolves. This year, Lathrop comes in with a new quarterback under center, and new leadership roles for the players.
"One thing I have always looked forward to is I like being able to lead the team to do better things because it is not just me, it is a team effort," Lathrop quarterback Jace Henry said. "If I can encourage everyone to do their best it makes everyone look good."
Incoming seniors will be taking the reigns, including lineman A.J. Olo.
"It makes me think I have to step up, be a leader to the young ones coming up, teach them while they're growing, and take my place soon." Olo said.
All of the off-season work has led up to this moment for the Malemutes, if you can call it an off-season.
"I mean you can't take no breaks in the off-season, it is full speed ahead, even in the off-season," wide receiver Ethan Peltier said. "You should be watching film, hitting the weight room. It is so much different when you get everyone together because now you are actually putting all that time that you have put in the weight room and the film room and finally applying it to the field."
The Malemtues regular season begins August 24th, when they host the West Anchorage Eagles at 7 p.m. at LHS.