On one of the hottest days of the summer, the Soldotna and Chugiak High School football programs clashed Saturday in a preseason scrimmage set up at Justin Maile Field in Soldotna. The temperatures felt searing in the midst of a relatively cool summer, but SoHi head coach Galen Brantley Jr. said the scrimmage offered a good chance to get in valuable real game experience against a perennially tough team in the Mustangs.
“Every kid is only allowed a certain number of tackle plays, so we were swapping them out quite a bit,” Brantley Jr. said.
The two sides set up from the 40-yard line for each series and worked a new set of downs in a game simulation.
The scrimmage allowed both coaching staffs to experiment with different lineups to decide the most effective starting varsity roster before the season opener in a week.
Alaska School Activities Association rules dictate that football players are allowed a limited number of full-tackle plays in a set amount of time, similar to a pitch count rule for baseball pitchers, to prevent and limit injuries.
While the Mustangs rolled out a variety of play-action and pass-heavy plays, the Stars continued their annual assault of run-heavy trap and misdirection plays, which fooled the Chugiak defense on a number of occasions.
The Stars open their season Friday night with a road game against the West Anchorage Eagles in a rematch of last year’s season opener that SoHi won 49-30. The Stars and Mustangs will not play each other this year, but Chugiak does get a date with Kenai.