For the 38th year, Al Aska Shriners sponsored the annual North-South Classic, an opportunity for senior football athletes from around the state to join forces in one last football game of the season. Representing the Mariners were Sheldon Hutt, Patrick Rainwater, Collin MacCampbell, Connor Seay and Ben Knisely, with Ian Lowe assisting Mariner Head Coach Josh Fraley with coaching duties.
Hutt was named MVP of the Nov. 1 game, “so that’s pretty awesome,” said Fraley. “He played really, really well.”
The Classic included three games: girls flag football, a small-medium schools game and a large schools game with players divided into “north” and “south” teams. Homer played on the small-medium schools’ “south” team that also included football players from North Pole, Kenai, Seward, Ketchikan and Houston. Fraley was the “south” team’s coach. The final score was north 30, south 26. The game will be shown on Fox Channel 4 on Nov. 25. Fraley was not sure of the time.
Proceeds from the game benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children. An added bonus for the athletes was having college coaches on hand to observe the players in action.
It was just such an opportunity that gave Fraley, a 2003 HHS graduate, the opportunity to play college ball. He played in the Classic his senior year and the following day was recruited by a South Dakota college football coach.
“I wouldn’t have played if it wasn’t for the Shriners game,” said Fraley. “And I probably wouldn’t be coaching either.”
This wraps up the football season for the Mariners.
“All we have now is the banquet on Nov. 17,” said Fraley.
“We’ll start our off-season workout program in January. I’m writing letters of recommendation and trying to get these seniors into schools if they want to play.”