North Pole, Eielson duke it out one last time in a snow globe

Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 7:14 PM AKDT
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A turbulent 2020 high school football season concluded for a pair of Interior, Alaska schools under the rare Wednesday Night Lights. In an “out-of-season” contest, the Eielson Ravens visited North Pole, a figurative snow globe and on Wednesday, it was a literal snow globe.

On the first snowfall in the Fairbanks area, the Patriots hosted Eielson as both programs wanted one more opportunity for their players to see some action. It was the final high school football game for nearly 20 seniors between both teams and no matter the conditions, they were going to take the field.

The Patriots trotted out in their “white out” uniforms in not quite white out conditions. However, North Pole blazed several paths to the end zone in a 48-8 victory in a game where the scoreboard meant very little. Patriots lineman Chris West took a hand off at the goal line and bullied his way into across the goal line in the second half to inflate North Pole’s lead. Following the score, West and his teammates made snow angels in the end zone, making the most of the sloppy conditions.

Kaden Bostwick, Via Skipps and Nic Clark were among other Patriots to find pay dirt, as North Pole closes their season with a statement victory over their rivals. The Patriots sent off over a dozen seniors after the game, as North Pole finishes the season with a pair of wins. Here are some thoughts from a number of seniors about their time with the program after completing their final high school game:

“It really was just building up and building up to getting these wins and so it’s been really hard but it was worth it," said Malcom Ode.

“Our game were few and far between this year, so it was fun to have this last game," said Riley Walters.

“I really enjoyed being here. All the close bonds we made, it was great," said West.

“To be able to get together with everyone and see all the work been putting in and pay off in our last game and send us seniors off with the win, it is awesome,” said Luis Bonilla.

“It was really hard the first couple of seasons I played because we were under new management most of the time so it was hard learning everything again. I feel like we came together this season and really pulled it out," said Damien Washburn.

“It was amazing, I was glad I was able to come out here and play with the boys. It definitely made it tougher but it was a lot fun,” Megan Parrish said of playing in the snow.

“It is really special because we don’t know if sports later on in the season are going to get to play or not, so it is nice to know that we had this," said Katy Vinton on having a season. Vinton is also the goalie for North Pole hockey.

“It has been a good year. The coaching staff is really good, they know what they’re doing. We looked good, we have potential here,” said Martin Tirban.

“It was really important to me because I am the fourth brother that has played for this team and just knowing I was able to finish on this team, it was really important to me,” said Skyler Ervin.

“It was really nice for the four years. It was nice to see a win [tonight],” said. Brandon Hilliard.

“Pretty special. [Coach Mike Hollet] showed us how to fight through adversity and he’s gradually been building this team up," said JJ Arnold.

The book also closes on Eielson’s season, sending off multiple seniors as well, including Will McManus. Manus has been a staple in the Ravens program over recent years and is grateful for his time on the field his senior year.

“I think anyone would want to play their senior season for sure. It was really important to me and all the other seniors on the team that we get at least one last run for our last year,” said McManus, who scored Eielson’s lone touchdown Wednesday. "I love football because when I step on this field, everything goes away. It is just me and the field and football. It is a special game to me and these years have meant a lot to me.”

The finals high school football game in Fairbanks is set for Friday when Lathrop visits Monroe. Kick-off is at 6 p.m. at Kiwanis Field.

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