“We get that extra day of practice this week and we don’t have to be on a ferry,” Kodiak coach Jim Schnick said. “The team, the coaches and everybody that has been a part of it has been feeling this road trip. We are happy to be home.”
Awaiting Kodiak Saturday at revamped Joe Floyd Track and Field is Northern Lights Conference leader Soldotna. Kickoff is 2 p.m. The junior varsity game begins at 11 a.m.
The contest is the first to be played on the new artificial turf surface that was completed several weeks ago.
Kodiak would like nothing more than to christen its new field by ending an 0-12 all-time slump against Soldotna that includes three straight small-school championship game losses beginning in 2006.
The winner of this game takes the outright lead in the NLC with only two weeks left to play. Soldotna is 3-0 in the NLC, while Kodiak sits in second with a 2-0 mark.
“We don’t even look at it like that. We take it a game at a time,” Schnick said. “We want to make a memory out here for the first game on the turf field. We got to match their effort, their intensity and we have to be disciplined.”
Schnick hopes his team comes ready to play from the opening snap and said the new playing surface should take care of that.
“I hope they come out fired up and intense. The last few games we have come out kind of flat,” Schnick said. “We need a little bump in intensity, so I am hoping to see that.”
Kodiak went 1-2 on its three-game road swing that sent the Bears to the Mat-Su Valley, Juneau and the Kenai Peninsula.
Kodiak’s only road victory came last week in a 20-19 decision over Kenai. The Bears trailed by 13 in the fourth quarter and completed the comeback when Fredy Sorto caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Yavorsky with no time left on the clock.
Keeping pace with Soldotna’s high-scoring offense poses a problem for any team. The Stars have scored more than 60 points in three of their past four games.
“We need an all around team effort, because some of those points they are putting up are off turnovers,” Schnick said. “We need to take care of the football, play good defense, play good offense and move the ball. If we can keep them on their sideline that is the best defense you can have.”
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at firstname.lastname@example.org.