Lathrop Football wins first ever State Championship

The Lathrop Malemutes are crowned the Division II State Championships for the first time in...
The Lathrop Malemutes are crowned the Division II State Championships for the first time in school history.(KTUU)
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 9:02 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Lathrop Malemutes finished off their first ever state championship season on Saturday. The Malemutes not only won a championship, but they also ended an eight consecutive title streak that the Soldotna Stars had held since 2012.

Senior quarterback, Jarren Littell, led the Malemutes offense, and there was little to question there. Littell was responsible for all six of the Lathrop touchdowns as he rushed for four and added two through the air. The Soldotna Stars offense was almost as good, but Lathrop was better on both sides of the ball earning the Division II State Football title, bringing down the Stars 39-28.

“It’s crazy. I’m still speechless. We’re still in shock. We won state!” said Jarren Littell after returning to Fairbanks from Anchorage. “From the start of the game, we got the ball on offense, and we took the most of our opportunity, and we went out and scored. We made a statement,” Littell added.

This was the second time Soldotna and Lathrop played each other this season. The Malemutes handed the Stars their first loss in 22 games on August 20, 2021. Beating any team twice in a given football season is no easy feat, but Lathrop was prepared for the response that Soldotna had set forth.

“We worked hard on those game plans, and a lot of the times, it doesn’t matter what you know, it’s what you can teach the kids. The kids were the ones that picked it up and executed,” said head coach, Luke Balash. A game that had many people questioning if Lathrop could dethrone Soldotna. “We talked about that going into the game. We told them there is no pressure, just show up, be you, and play hard. If you do that, the scoreboard will take care of itself,” Balash noted as the message to his team leading up to the championship game.

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