East Anchorage and Juneau will meet in ASAA Division I football title game
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The table is set for the Alaska Schools Activities Association Division I state football championship between East Anchorage High School and the Juneau unified high school football team on Friday at Service High School. Since 2016, East has won two state championships while a school from Juneau hasn’t been to the title since 2008.
East Anchorage head coach Jeff Trotter believes his team has a chip on their shoulder after last season, when the Thunderbirds went undefeated but were unable to play for a state championship because it was canceled due to COVID-19.
“This group feels like it got shafted last year because, whether they want to say it or not, they were the state champs,” Trotter said. “... They still were the best team in the state but they’re not getting called that, so I think they want to put an official stamp on that.”
The Thunderbirds began their 2021 campaign 3-0 before they traveled to Juneau and lost to the Huskies 39-28. East bounced back and won the rest of their games by a healthy margin, and narrowly edged West in overtime of the semifinals, 34-32. Heading into Friday’s championship, East Anchorage has redemption on the mind against Juneau.
“It’s what everybody wanted,” said East senior Damarion Delaney. “It’s the game we lost, and we felt we could’ve beat them (Juneau) so we’re going to go out there and give you something to see.”
The 2021 title game won’t be the first time East has kicked off against a Juneau football team in the championship. In 2003, the Thunderbirds beat Juneau-Douglas in the championship 33-15.
This is only the third season Thunder Mountain and Juneau-Douglas High Schools have taken the field as a unified team because they sat out last season due to COVID-19. The Juneau School District combined the two teams prior to 2018 to save money.
Before Thunder Mountain High School opened, Juneau-Douglas had a strong football program, winning two titles in 2005 and 2007 along with four state championship appearances since 2003. The Huskies hope to bring back a winning tradition to the Southeast after a strong 2021 campaign, winning the Cook Inlet Conference regular season.
The championship game will kick off at 7 p.m. at Service High School.
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