FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Most teams practice twice a day in order to prepare for the season, but the Eielson Ravens take it one step further. The Dirty Birds began 3-A-Days a week ago, and have been grinding out practices ever since. After losing a few key contributors in the offseason because of graduation, including All-State Running-Back and Defensive Back Jeramiah Brown, the Ravens have re-loaded and are ready for another year.
Coach Devaughn:"We're coming together, we've got a few new pieces. We've got some guys who transferred in. We've got some guys that we're counting on a little more than we were last year so we're just trying to get them to gel and get them to work together."
Brock Renson:"We're working on our team chemistry and basically everything else that comes with new players and a new developing football team. So we're working on everything from Football plays to Chemistry."
This season has a different feeling for the Ravens. After coming into the year as the Division 3 State Champions in 2015, 2016, and 2017, this year they have a chip on their shoulder. After falling to the eventual State Champion Barrow Whalers in the regular season, the Ravens missed out on the championship game for the first time since 2013 when they were eliminated by Homer in the first round. The Dirty Birds now have a chance to avenge this loss, and reclaim what they feel is rightfully theirs.
Scott Fry:"After two years with a State Championship Trophy, for me, freshman and sophomore year, you get attached to it. That's definitely a big loss for us last year. We want it back and I don't think we're going to stop until we have it back."
Brock Renson:"We're going to use that as fuel and fuel the fire basically. We're going to play better, harder, and try to make sure that doesn't happen again."
The team feels like an influx of new talent, their intensity, and their brotherhood will help lead them back to the promised land.
Coach Devaughn:"We've got some young guys who are going to contribute, help us get better, and it's a good group of kids. That's kind of what's nice about doing this. You get a new group every year."
Scott Fry:"We're definitely closer. And I think we're more physical this year. Last year we were kind of soft. But this year... We will hit this year."
Eielson kicks off this season with an old rivalry matchup when they take on the North Pole Patriots in the Blood Bowl for the first time in over a decade on August 11th.
This is Devin Fry reporting.
The football season is coming up quickly for us, as the Jamboree will be this Friday at the turf fields.
Our Interior teams will have their hands full next weekend, with West Valley playing Service on August 10.
Then Monroe will face Seward on the road and Eielson will face North Pole in the Blood Bowl.
And Lathrop will face Kenai, giving us a fun filled weekend.