The 2023 Football season brings in a new era for Lathrop

Published: Aug. 10, 2023 at 8:43 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - After going back to back for state championships, Lathrop has begun the start of what could be another Alaskan football dynasty. However, for Coach Balash and the Malemutes, keeping a mind set of every year is a new adventure, is the focus.

“I think every year, we take it as this is a new adventure. This is a new group, the team that beat so high last year was a team of last year. Not this year, and same from the one before and reality is a lot of our kids have turnover and [are] gone and so it’s a new group. We talked a lot about the road to success, compared to the success road, and the success road says we’re going to enjoy this journey and every day focus on what we need to do today and not look too far down the road. But really enjoy today and make the most of it, and they work hard at what we need to get better at right now,” said Luke Balash, Lathrop’s head football coach.

With a newer group of players after the big turnover, veteran players leading the way is needed.

“It’s like working hard every day, to keeping everybody, like motivated. To keep like, to want to keep going and working hard and just being the best we can be,” said Solomon Wade, a senior quarterback for Lathrop.

The style and level of play is being passed down from class to class, especially on the defensive side of the ball, that uses the old saying, the best offense comes from a good defense.

“Just teaching high motor, it is a different game than offense. On defense, defensive line, you’re supposed to just shoot out with your hand and not think as much as you do on offense. So it’s just having a high motor and not getting tired easily,” said Cody Webb, one of Lathrop’s defensive ends.

For the veterans and leaders on the team, this preseason was about setting an example of what’s expected as a Lathrop football player on and off the field.

“Being selfless, not being selfish on the team, and focusing on working as a team and being together,” said Jenner Webb, who plays middle linebacker and quarterback for the Malemutes.

Lathrop was scheduled to play their rivals for the division two state championship, the Soldotna Stars Friday night for an eight o’clock kick off.

Due to the declining air quality from the wildfires currently happening, the location and date for the game has changed to Saturday August 12 at Wasilla High School.