Eleven players have been suspended from Kodiak’s varsity football team for its regular-season football finale Saturday at Skyview.
The suspensions were due to violations of the school’s athletic code of conduct, Kodiak coach Jim Schnick confirmed Wednesday.
The nature of the violations was not released.
“A few players may be eligible for postseason play, but none will be eligible to play this weekend,” Kodiak High School principal Bill Watkins wrote in an email to the Kodiak Daily Mirror. “The violation occurred after school hours and not during a school sponsored activity, therefore no students were suspended from school.”
Kodiak’s varsity roster for Monday’s game against Homer included only 28 players, meaning Kodiak will not have a full varsity roster and will have to promote from junior varsity.
First-year coach Schnick said despite the suspensions, he is confident his team will compete against Skyview. Kickoff is at 3 p.m.
“We got some guys that are still 100 percent committed to the team and they are working hard,” Schnick said. “We just got to move some players around a bit.”
A Kodiak (2-2 Northern Lights Conference, 3-4 overall) victory over Skyview would give the Bears the conference’s No. 3 seed and the final berth into the playoffs.
The top three teams in the NLC qualify for postseason play. Soldotna (4-0, 6-1) and Homer (3-1, 4-2) have already secured the top two seeds.
“We have a great shot,” Schnick said. “We have the core of our team still around. These guys are hard workers.”
Even if Kodiak loses, the Bears can qualify for the playoffs with a Kenai (2-2, 2-5) loss to Soldotna. The Kardinals, last year’s medium school champions, would grab third-place in the NLC with a win and a Kodiak loss. Kodiak has the tiebreaker advantage over Kenai due to its 20-19 win in Week 5. In that game, Fredy Sorto caught the winning touchdown pass with no time left on the clock.
Soldtona hosts the NLC’s No. 3 team in a semifinal game next week. Homer travels to Thunder Mountain, the Southeast Conference champion, in the other semifinal game.
Kodiak has had a short week to prepare for Skyview (0-4, 1-5). The Bears played Homer on Monday, had a day off on Tuesday and Wednesday’s practice was cut short due to weather conditions.
“The chips are stacked against us right now, but we kind of like it that way,” Schnick said.
Kodiak is 1-4 in its last five games after starting the season with a pair of victories over West Anchorage’s junior varsity and Homer.
The Bears can wash away those struggles by clinching its first postseason berth since 2009 on Saturday.
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.