The first — and most likely not the last — changes to the state’s fall prep sports schedule happened last week.
The Alaska School Activities Association pushed back the football season a week, with teams now set to play season-opening games the third week of August. The schedule change also shortens the regular season from eight games to seven.
Kodiak now opens the season against North Pole on Aug. 21 at Joe Floyd Track and Field, while the team’s home game against large-school Bartlett was taken off the schedule, leaving the Bears with only three games at Joe Floyd Track and Field.
“I wasn’t super heart-broken to lose Bartlett off the schedule, but losing a home game is not ideal for us — you only get four of them, so you want to have them,” Kodiak coach Bryan Ellsworth said.
Kodiak hosts Soldotna (Sept. 4) and Palmer (Sept. 18), while traveling to Eielson (Aug. 28), West Valley (Sept. 11), Kenai (Sept. 25 or 26) and Eagle River (Oct. 2 or 3).
Football teams across Alaska officially begin practice on July 29. Since the first of the month, Kodiak has been meeting for conditioning practices when the Kodiak Island Borough School District gave the green light to proceed.
Ellsworth said the participation has been “tentative.”
“A lot of kids are not as motivated because the possibility that it (the season) could get pulled out from underneath them,” he said.
The third-year coach is optimistic that the 2020 season will happen but knows the schedule is fluid as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the state.
“We could have a massive amount of seniors on this team that, could potentially, won’t get to play their season,” Ellsworth said. “Who knows what is going to happen. I’m not a big fan of trying to predict what may or may not happen. We are just trying to prepare the best we can and have the kids ready.”