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Lathrop falls to top team in state on the gridiron

Published: Aug. 28, 2021 at 7:32 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Two No. 1 ranked programs met under the Friday night lights as Division II’s #1 Lathrop visited Division I’s #1 East Anchorage in a week three showdown.

However, there is some validity to why the Alaska Schools Activities Association reclassified high school football in 2017 that moved the Malemutes from the ‘large schools’ division to DII of DI-III.

Attempting to punt near their own end zone on their first possession of the game, a bad snap led to an East Anchorage safety as things got off on the wrong foot for the Malamutes. The Thunderbirds scored on the ensuing possession to make matters worse.

It has been difficult to ground the Thunderbirds recently, as quarterback Kyler Johnson aired out five touchdowns in the 50-26 East Anchorage (3-0) victory over Lathrop (2-1).

East ran up the first 29 points on the scoreboard, until QB Jarren Littell found Elijah Deans on a quick pass to the end zone for six. After another T-Birds touchdown, it was 36-6 at the half.

The number one ranked team in Division I went on to score two quick touchdowns to put up the 50-burger, before pulling their starters for the game.

Littell found Deans again, this time on a big play, but the receiver was dropped at the one-yard line, where Tyler Clooten punched it in for a touchdown. Junior Peyton George returned a kickoff for a touchdown, while John Levi had a rushing TD to round out the scoring for the Malamutes.

Lathrop was coming off a thrilling, 27-21 victory over the division’s previous #1 Soldotna, handing them just their third loss in the last 10 seasons.

The Malemutes do not have a week four game scheduled, as their original Railbelt Conference matchup with the North Pole Patriots has been rescheduled to September 25. Lathrop open to scheduling an opponent for that week, according to a school official.

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