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Story Last modified at 3:31 p.m. on Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wolves get to Den up
Saturday contest will be first CIC home game in school hisory

BY MIKE NESPER
Chugiak-Eagle River Star

photo:Sports

Eagle River's football stadium is still a work in progress. Because there are no lights, the team's game was moved from 7 p.m. to 3 p.m. after it was announced that the Wolves would host Bartlett on Aug. 27. The game will be the first conference game held on campus.
STAR PHOTO by matt tunseth

Eagle River will host its first Cook Inlet Conference football game Saturday at 3 p.m. against Bartlett.

The game was to be played at Chugiak's Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium, the scheduled site of all but one of Eagle River's games this season. But on Monday, officials announced the game will be played in Eagle River.

New principal Marty Lang was the catalyst behind getting the venue switched, Wolves head coach Kenny Ray said.

"It's huge for these kids," he said. "It's huge. It's really huge."

Eagle River is undefeated at the "Wolves' Den." The only varsity football game played on Eagle River's turf was a non-conference victory over Lathrop last season — the team's only win of the year.

Just a couple days after Lang began his new post at Eagle River, the first-year principal discussed moving the Bartlett game to the Wolves' field, Ray said.

"I said, 'It will be a big stone in your crown if you can make that happen,'" Ray said. "And he got it done."

Because of the close proximity of the schools (Bartlett is about eight miles from Eagle River), Eagle River assistant principal Carrie Fleischhacker said the venue change made sense. And, she said, Golden Bears head coach John Jessen was all for the idea.

"He was all about supporting us with the move," Fleischhacker said.

Eagle River's stadium is a work in progress. A scoreboard was installed in 2009, and a committee is currently working on securing funds for bleachers — which the stadium lacks. As with last season's home game, the Eagle River Lions Club donated the use of its bleachers to the team, Fleischhacker said. But spectators can also bring their own chairs, she said. The stadium also lacks lights, so the game was moved from 7 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Ray noted how crucial it is to play a true home game.

"It's very, very important to this community to use this football field," he said. "It's a good thing."

Lang is also trying to have at least one more game played at Eagle River, Fleischhacker said.

"We're looking toward moving the homecoming game (Sept. 16 against East) back to this campus as well," she said.



This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, August 24, 2011.