The opening week of the high school football season in Alaska is littered with marquee matchups.
The biggest game: Soldotna at West Anchorage.
The Stars and Eagles both topped the Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network’s preseason poll; Soldonta is ranked No. 1 in the medium-small school pool, while West is the top team in the large schools poll.
Soldotna enters the 2019 season as the seven-time defending medium-schools state champion, while West was last year’s large-school state runner-up.
In last year’s season opener, West ended Soldotna’s state-best 59-game winning streak with an 18-13 victory on the Kenai Peninsula.
The Stars never lost after that, posting a 9-1 record. Soldotna defeated Eagle River, 46-14, in the state championship game.
Kickoff for Friday’s rematch is 7 p.m.
Other important large-school Week 1 games: No. 2 Bartlett faces No. 5 South Anchorage and No. 3 East Anchorage plays No. 4 Colony.
In the medium-small schools, No. 2 Eielson tackles North Pole, No. 3 Eagle River plays No. 4 Lathrop and No. 5 Barrow battles Ketchikan.
Eielson is the defending small-schools champion. The Ravens, 9-1 last season, thumped Barrow, 36-0, in the championship game.
After going 3-4 last season, Kodiak is unranked to begin the season. The Bears open with large-school Dimond Saturday in Anchorage. Kickoff is 2 p.m.
The Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network appears every week of the high school football season. The poll is made up of voters from Alaska media.
Alaska Sports Broadcasting
Network preseason football poll
Large Schools (Week 1 opponent)
1. West Anchorage (Soldotna); 2. Bartlett (South Anchorage); 3. East Anchorage (Colony); 4. Colony (East); 5. South (Bartlett).
1. Soldotna (West); 2. Eielson (North Pole); 3. Lathrop (Eagle River); 4. Eagle River (Lathrop); 5. Barrow (Ketchikan).