FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Five Interior teams competed in the jamboree this past Friday. There was Eielson Ravens, the Monroe Catholic Rams, the West Valley Wolfpack, the North Pole Patriots and the Lathrop Malemutes. The Interior teams competed with the Colony Knights as they played on the turf fields.
The Ravens are the defending state champs for DIII, and they are getting ready for their title defense.
"It's really great, I've been missing a lot and I've been training hard during the whole off-season so I feel good about it.” Said Zoltan Holmly. “I'm just ready to play. It's been really good of course. Obviously it's an expectation to go back and win state and we're just working every day to keep that expectation."
The Wolfpack are looking to leave their tumultuous off-season behind. With a new head coach, West Valley had themselves a balanced look to their offense. Their defense was turning heads, as they went after the Colony Knights to put their stamp on the Jamboree yelling out, 'No Fly Zone'.
"It's always fun watching my defense do that. I just love my defense because it gives me a break and defense wins games." Said West Valley quarterback Shaun Conwell.
The Lathrop Malemutes took the number one seed out of the Railbelt Conference last year, but ultimately fell in the semifinals to the Eagle River Wolves. Jace Henry takes over as the varsity quarterback, and he is looking forward to getting back on the field.
"It's definitely good, and now I'll be able to run the ball little bit more.” Said Henry. “I don't get as much in the Jamboree cause I am a quarterback. Once we get into the game I can hit because I am just as physical as everyone else on the field. I can spread the wealth and make all of us look good as a unit."
The Patriots are looking up after having a tough season last year. Their starting quarterback is ready to take what he learned last year to improve as a player and a leader.
"It kind of feels different you know.” Said North Pole quarterback Chris Lovett. “Last year, I wasn't that big of a role as this year. This is year, is like alright now I know what I did wrong. Now I know I got to step it up and be a leader and be the bigger person. Through the bad situations and know what to do and stuff like that."
The Monroe Catholic Rams program has combined with Tri-Valley High School for their football season. Head Coach Marcus Cogley spoke about seeing his program in live-game action.
"It's been really great to see the actual live contact. It's hard to replicate it during the week, especially with our numbers being as low as they are.” Said Coach Cogley. “So being able to see what the pace of the game is going to be like is a huge advantage for us going down to Seward. There's a lot of things to work on, but there's a lot of good things for not really going live before."
The Week 1 schedule has the Blood Bowl as the marquee matchup. The North Pole Patriots will host the Eielson Ravens on Friday at 7 P.M. The West Valley Wolfpack start their season on the road with a game against the Wasilla Warriors. This game is at 7 P.M. in the Matsu-Valley.
The Monroe Catholic Rams start their year down in the Southcentral for a contest against the Seward Seahawks this upcoming weekend. Lastly, the Lathrop Malemutes will have a grudge match when they take on the Eagle River Wolves. The last time these two faced each other, the Wolves pulled ahead late in the semifinals of the DII playoffs. They will play down South at 3 P.M. on Saturday.