The Season That Got Away

Bubba Mendoza at Quarterback calls the play as the Eagles take the ball down to field.

Bubba Mendoza at Quarterback calls the play as the Eagles take the ball down to field.

Theodore Bahr, Reporter

On October 19th, steady showers of rain soaked the players of the Division 1 State Championship game at the Anchorage Football Stadium. Division rival faced off, with the West High Eagles taking on the locally undefeated East High Thunderbirds. The game resulted in a decisive victory for the Thunderbirds, with a lopsided score of 35-6.

Although the score is extreme, it was not all that unexpected from the fans of the Eagles, for many believed it was a miracle they even made it to the Championship with a spotty beginning of 6-5. Meanwhile, East had dominated the division, with a record of 10-1 only losing one game to a team flown up from out of the state. Thankfully, West has a knack for making it to the State game, as they had a decent enough division record, and an impressive game against division power Bartlett High. In full disclosure, West doesn’t win every game, just the ones that matter, except the state game for the past three years.

During the game, both teams started off playing evenly well, but it hit the fan when after East scored the first points of the game, the West offense was stopped and forced to punt while still deep in their side of the field. A blocked kicked led to a devastating return, giving East a 14-0-point lead over the now shocked Eagles. However according to varsity player Jacob Christy, morale was still good on the sidelines.

When asked if that return signaled a drop-in mood, Christy replied, “No not really, we were still in the game, it just wasn’t fun to watch that happen.” The worry seemed premature, but considering West’s record, fans had experienced how hard it was for the team to come back from a serious lead.

The West High Eagles join together in a huddle to regain focus and try and retake the game at the start of the second half.

These fears turned out to be sadly well placed, as the T-birds went on to score a total of 35 unanswered points. That was until West scored their only points of the night with a pass to receiver Jonah Gladney, a junior on varsity, who scored West’s only touchdown late in the fourth quarter. When asked how it felt to score, Gladney replied, “It wasn’t different than any other game, you don’t think about it while it’s happening.”

Tim Davis, head coach for West, felt proud that his team was in the State Championship. “I’m proud of the boys, you know, the whole season we played well, but we really came together near the end,” said Davis as to how the team performed. The plan for next year is the same as the last, and Davis makes it clear that next year they will not be stopped again in the State game.

West has been able to make it to the championship game almost every year and has come away with several state titles since Davis took over as head coach. But the past three years have been challenging; being stopped in the last game and being denied a state trophy. This year’s final was particularly brutal on the fans, but remains as a reminder that West can hang, and eventually be, the best.