FAIRBANKS—The unbeaten Eielson Ravens came back to Earth after last weekend’s dominating Greatland Conference win over the Monroe Catholic Rams and started gearing up for today’s conference finale against the Barrow Whalers.
Last Saturday night’s *65-21 outcome against the Monroe Catholic Rams at Kiwanis Field assured the Ravens of a top-two finish in the Greatland and a home playoff berth in the small schools state tournament during the weekend of Oct. 5-6.
The win over the Rams also reminded Eielson that there is still business to take care of, starting at 1 p.m. today at Buck Nystrom Field on Eielson Air Force Base. The Whalers, last year’s small schools state runners-up, are still in contention for a postseason berth with a *3-1 Greatland and 4-1 overall record.
The Ravens, 4-0 Greatland and 6-0 overall, invoked their “rule of 24” following the Monroe game.
“You’ve got 24 minutes to forget about the last play and you’ve got 24 hours to forget about a loss or a win,” Ravens head coach David DeVaughn said during a telephone interview Wednesday.
“They showed up Monday and were ready to work and were good to go,” DeVaughn added.
Eielson performed likewise last weekend against a Rams squad that got 214 yards passing and two touchdowns from junior Tyler Wells, whose in his first season as a quarterback.
“We definitely made some adjustments at halftime that allowed us to get pressure on Wells,” DeVaughn recalled. “We kept him from extending plays with his feet. Being able to make those adjustments definitely helped us. The guys were firing on all cylinders.”
The Ravens hope to the keep the fire going today against the Whalers, who are coming off a 14-6 win over the South Anchorage Wolverines junior varsity last Saturday at Cathy Parker Field in Barrow.
Barrow senior quarterback Adison Itta was injured in the first quarter and senior linebacker/wide receiver James Snow took over and connected with Lawrence Kaleak on a 31-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter for the game-winner.
“They’ve always liked to pass,” DeVaughn said of the Whalers. “They’ve definitely got some good crossover athletes from basketball. We’ll definitely be watching for the pass, and they’ve got a couple of good athletes out there.
“Earlier in the season, they were waiting on a couple of guys to get enough practices to be eligible,” DeVaughn added. “They’ve definitely grown into a solid football program.”
This is Barrow’s third visit of the season to Interior Alaska. The Whalers lost *16-0 to Monroe at Kiwanis Field in the season opener on Aug. 11 and won 25-20 against Lathrop Malemutes junior varsity/C team on Aug. 25.
The Rams (2-1, 3-2) get another tough test at Kiwanis Field, taking on the Nikiski Bulldogs, last year’s small schools state champion, at 1 p.m. today in a Greatland game.
Rams head coach Bobby Pace said the loss to Eielson helped prepare Monroe for the Bulldogs (2-1, 4-2).
“We’re going to see what we’re lacking,” Pace said last Saturday night outside of the Rams lockerroom. “We started out strong offensively, but defensively they weren’t tackling like we were tackling in all our prior games and at the beginning of the season.
“We’re going to have to focus back on some fundamentals,” Pace said. “I hope this film (of the Eielson game) will teach them a lot.”
Nikiski (2-1, 4-2) is coming off of a 48-6 home and conference victory last Friday against the Valdez Buccaneers.
Today’s contest also is the last home game of the year for Monroe, which ends the regular season at Seward in a conference game at 5 p.m. Sept. 28.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.