By Erin Barkhurst
October 1st was senior varsity football day at Eagle River High School. The wolves played their last day of the season against Kodiak, having a defeat of 6 to 54. Although their scoreboard did not reflect a win, the boys left the field with their heads held high.
The Wolves 2016 season lasted two months, winning two out of the eight games, and having the most victories since 2012. They ended Eagle River’s three-year losing streak and their opponent, Barrow, at homecoming.
The other feat occurred in Ketchikan, an away game with a score of 47 to 28. Obviously executing some major achievements, which many of the senior players believe is due to their determination and teamwork- two qualities developed over their high school football career. In fact, many of these qualities haven’t gone unnoticed by the parents and coaches.
“Last year, they (the Eagle River Varsity Football Team) were outmatched. Now, they’re more competitive in all the games. Which, I think, has really helped us win a couple. But the team captains have probably a lot to do with our wins. They (Dayton Denter and Cameron Smith) have really stepped up their game this year. Both showing a lot of leadership with being more involved with booster club fundraising and helping keep the team stay in check with time management.” Laura and Charles Barkhurst say, proud parents of the senior football player, Grant.
Senior Jack Moseley gave an excellent example of the certain competitiveness Charles mentioned. Towards the end of the game, Moseley was tackled from a member of the Kodiak team, and suffered an unfortunate injury towards his jaw. At first, the paramedics thought it was fractured. Recommending to stop playing the game and to visit a hospital. Not wanting to be taken from the game, Moseley insisted he was fine and it was just a “minor injury.” Unfortunately, this “minor injury” was discovered to be a dislocated jaw, obviously needing some professional medical attention. But against all odds, Moseley somehow managed to recover from this injury, and was permitted to continue with the rest of his team.
Apparently, he had snapped it back into place.
After the incident, Moseley continued competing and gave some of his best plays of the season. Team supporter said, “maybe we should have dislocated his jaw a while ago.” Obviously thrilled with Jack’s success. Although this season demonstrated commitment and success from the Eagle River Varsity Football team, today’s game was about recognition and saying goodbyes to the seniors.
As of right now, sixteen seniors will leave the team.
Which consists of: Cameron Smith, Jack Moseley, Hunter George, Dayton Denter, Nicolas Osborne, Dawson Porter, Brandon D Hill, Josh Luff, Grant Barkhurst, Nathan Morales, Andrew Kaiser, Bret Jedlicki, Juan Raymundo, Alecsander Wolfert, Jordon Porter, and Tyler Cruz A few have scholarships. Cameron Smith was emailed from the New Mexico Highlands University, while Nicolas Osborne hopes to play for the Navy or Airforce Academy. While others, like Hunter George, are probably done playing football. “It’s always sad on the seniors last day,” says head coach Turner, “but they’ve come a long way.”
Even though the team suffered from loses, the boys never failed to show spirit or teamwork out on the field. Demonstrating outstanding sportsmanship and commitment to the team. “Winning isn’t everything.” Nicolas stated, “the sport has really taught me patience.” “I learned to lose,” Hunter added, “and what it means to stick through. Even when things get though.” “Teamwork makes the dream work,” Grant Barkhurst replied, who played as wide receiver and linebacker for the team.
After the game came to a closing, each senior was lined out on the field with family and close relatives. An announcer then read off a list of the players best moments and plans for the future. “Oh, it was the game with Wasilla. I intercepted the ball for 60 yards, almost making a touchdown,” Jordon described his favorite moment. As each senior was called out, whoops could be heard from the reaming of the team who were taking a knee on the sidelines.
The majority of the team was in tears. Along with many of the parents.
Many of the seniors were saying goodbye to a sport they’ve participated in since elementary school. While the rest of the team were saying goodbye to valued and respected members that they’ve grown close to over the years. “Grant has been playing football since he was a baby. He’s not played football, I hate to see these boys go.” Laura Barkhurst replied. And although the wolves can rely on the rest of the team, their biggest supporters were from their parents and the team moms. Who made everything possible for these boys. “Always rely on family,” Cameron said, “they were my number one fans.”
It was a bittersweet ending, considering all the obstacles the boys faced to break their losing streak and all the hard work they maintain throughout the year. Along with such a large group graduating, all of the seniors are very close to one another. Most of the seniors are ready to continue playing and will go into wrestling and other sports. Off to do bigger and better things.
Erin Barkhurst is a sophomore at Eagle River High School. She is a member of the yearbook staff and is an intern with The ECHO News.