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Could this be Skyview's year?

Opposing Norther nLights coaches cast wary wyw toward Panthers

Posted: Friday, August 17, 2001

In the Northern Lights Conference, just as in any other society, tradition isn't to be scoffed at or taken lightly.

Maybe that's why conference coaches are so hesitant in pushing Skyview forward as their favorite this year.

The Panthers have had some success since their school opened in 1990, making the playoffs in 1993 and 1996. But more often than not, Skyview has had to take a back seat to either Soldotna or Kenai when it comes to football supremacy on the central Kenai Peninsula.

Particularly galling to Skyview is the 1-10 record the Panthers have against cross-town rival Soldotna. Last year, the Stars and Kardinals each defeated the Panthers, keeping them out of the playoffs with a 2-2 conference record.

"If we're going to win the conference, we've just got to figure out a way to beat Kenai and Soldotna," Skyview coach Wade Marcuson said.

 

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Kenai players celebrate their advance to the playoffs last fall.

Photo by M. SCOTT MOON

If the Panthers are going to break tradition, this year may be as good as any. A group of 12 to 15 seniors will mix with a junior varsity squad that went 6-1 last year and defeated all of the NLC junior varsity teams. Marcuson calls this team the most balanced and deepest he's had in his four years as head coach.

Meanwhile, Kenai and Soldotna will be rebuilding on the fly after taking significant losses from their playoff squads. The Stars have just six or seven seniors on their squad this year, while the Kardinals could end up starting nine underclassmen on defense.

"Skyview just keeps popping up as the team to beat," Soldotna head coach Rob Dimick said. "This could be their year."

While Marcuson knows the value of wins over Kenai and Soldotna, he doesn't want to get carried away and forget the other two members of the conference.

"Everybody in the conference had better keep a close eye on Homer this year," Marcuson said. "They had a good JV team, and they had a bunch of young kids on the varsity who've only gotten bigger and better."

Homer coach Todd Phillips will have 14 seniors on his varsity, matching Skyview. Phillips also will get an influx of talent from his junior varsity. The squad's only losses last season came to Skyview.

The wild card in the conference is Ketchikan, which last year finished 0-4 in the conference. By the end of the season, the Kings were suiting up just 13 players.

"We're looking a lot better," said Todd Stanley, who will be in his first year as the king of the Kings. "We have twice as many players coming out this year. We're expecting right around 30 kids."

Of those 30 players, just four are seniors so Stanley is building toward the future.

Some names to watch for are sophomore quarterback Brandon Larson, freshman running back and wide receiver Michael Baham, senior linebacker Tell Tombaugh, senior fullback Jake Otrom and senior lineman Raymond Seacrest.

HEAD:Opposing Northern Lights coaches cast wary eye toward Panthers

HEAD:Could this be Skyview's year?

BYLINE1:By JEFF HELMINIAK

BYLINE2:Peninsula Clarion

In the Northern Lights Conference, just as in any other society, tradition isn't to be scoffed at or taken lightly.

Maybe that's why conference coaches are so hesitant in pushing Skyview forward as their favorite this year.

The Panthers have had some success since their school opened in 1990, making the playoffs in 1993 and 1996. But more often than not, Skyview has had to take a back seat to either Soldotna or Kenai when it comes to football supremacy on the central Kenai Peninsula.

Particularly galling to Skyview is the 1-10 record the Panthers have against cross-town rival Soldotna. Last year, the Stars and Kardinals each defeated the Panthers, keeping them out of the playoffs with a 2-2 conference record.

"If we're going to win the conference, we've just got to figure out a way to beat Kenai and Soldotna," Skyview coach Wade Marcuson said.

If the Panthers are going to break tradition, this year may be as good as any. A group of 12 to 15 seniors will mix with a junior varsity squad that went 6-1 last year and defeated all of the NLC junior varsity teams. Marcuson calls this team the most balanced and deepest he's had in his four years as head coach.

Meanwhile, Kenai and Soldotna will be rebuilding on the fly after taking significant losses from their playoff squads. The Stars have just six or seven seniors on their squad this year, while the Kardinals could end up starting nine underclassmen on defense.

"Skyview just keeps popping up as the team to beat," Soldotna head coach Rob Dimick said. "This could be their year."

While Marcuson knows the value of wins over Kenai and Soldotna, he doesn't want to get carried away and forget the other two members of the conference.

"Everybody in the conference had better keep a close eye on Homer this year," Marcuson said. "They had a good JV team, and they had a bunch of young kids on the varsity who've only gotten bigger and better."

Homer coach Todd Phillips will have 14 seniors on his varsity, matching Skyview. Phillips also will get an influx of talent from his junior varsity. The squad's only losses last season came to Skyview.

The wild card in the conference is Ketchikan, which last year finished 0-4 in the conference. By the end of the season, the Kings were suiting up just 13 players.

"We're looking a lot better," said Todd Stanley, who will be in his first year as the king of the Kings. "We have twice as many players coming out this year. We're expecting right around 30 kids."

Of those 30 players, just four are seniors so Stanley is building toward the future.

Some names to watch for are sophomore quarterback Brandon Larson, freshman running back and wide receiver Michael Baham, senior linebacker Tell Tombaugh, senior fullback Jake Otrom and senior lineman Raymond Seacrest.



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