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The Eielson High School defense in action against Kenai on Friday night. 

It’s amazing how fast we’ve shifted gears: From the crack of the bats and the sounds of an 80-mile fast ball hitting the catcher’s leather surrounded by the scenic mountains of Salt Lake City as the Goldpanners’ season came to a close to the slamming of pads and choruses of cheerleaders beneath the (unofficial and) occasional flyovers of military jets at Eielson High School’s football season opener.

Part of what caught me off guard is that in Texas, where I grew up and spent roughly 40 of my 53 years, high school football season kicks off two weeks from now, stretches 10 games for the regular season, and takes four teams out of every district to the playoffs. And yes, there are some districts with four teams. It’s a huge sham promoted by the governing body in the “everybody gets a trophy” era to ensure job security among coaches. (“Billy Bob had a down year this season but last year he had us in the playoffs.”)

Contact sports editor Jeff Olsen at 907-459-7530 or