Arizona football team to sample Alaska gridiron
An Arizona high school is bringing some heat to Alaska's summer football schedule.
On Friday, Aug. 17, the Cesar Chavez High School's Champions will play a football game more than 3,600 miles from their Laveen, Ariz. home. The school in a Phoenix suburb has connected with East High School for a home and home series beginning this year.
"We wanted to go somewhere and do something nobody's ever done," said the Champions' head coach, Manuel Alcantar.
That includes many of his players.
"Probably 30 of the 35 have never been on an airplane," said athletic director Lenny Doerfler. "Probably 15 to 20 have never been out of the Phoenix area."
Unlike many of the students, both Doerfler and Alcantar are familiar with the 49th state. The two were up here recently for the All-Alaska Football Camp. Doerfler has been working it for two decades. Alcantar wore two hats during his visit, though he was still more coach than scout even with a few East players in attendance.
Next month's trip already has the Champions asking their leadership questions, the men said, like "Is it going to be snowing?", "How cold is it going to be?" and "Are we going to need special cleats?"
The trip will give the Arizona team the experience of a lifetime, for a price tag of about $24,000.
It's a flight Doerfler says the team had to do when it could.
"We need to give our kids as many opportunities as we possibly can, and just open them up to different cultures, and different parts of the world, and see that," he said.
It should also be one of the coolest games they'll play all season.
East will return the favor and travel to Arizona next year.
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