Barrow, Alaska was the place to be Saturday if you couldn't wait another day for a football fix. The hometown Whalers opened the season by playing host to the Kodiak Bears on the blue turf 340 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Kodiak won, 21-7, in a rematch of last season's Alaska small schools state semifinals. The Bears won that game, 19-13, in Anchorage.
A big thank you to Barrow resident Budd Goodyear for sending this photo package, including the shot above of Barrow quarterback Albert Gerke getting crunched by two Kodiak tacklers.
Barrow's Cathy Parker Field has a new scoreboard. Parker was the driving force behind Project Alaska Turf, the fund-raising campaign to replace Barrow's gravel field with artificial turf, which was installed before the start of the 2007 season.
Gerke scrambles while looking for a receiver. Temperatures were expected to be around 60, but a wintery blast off the Arctic Ocean brought a mix of rain and sleet whipped by 15-20 mph winds.
Kodiak quarterback Matthew Chavarria tries to avoid pressure. Each team had trouble with turnovers. Kodiak lost four fumbles and Barrow had three passes intercepted.
Elmer Cortez boots an extra point for the Bears. Kodiak had to travel more than 900 miles for the game, with the team's plane first making stops in Anchorage and Fairbanks.
How does one end up living in Barrow? Photographer Goodyear told us his story: "I am semi-retired. I work part time for a subsidiary of an Alaska Native Village Corporation. My current work is management consulting. I take a lot of photos of the Barrow area.
"My first job in Alaska was newspaper reporter/photographer, and then assistant editor. I have lived in Barrow for approximately four years. I have lived in Alaska 32 years, having arrived in the summer of 1977. I turned 70 last March and the fun part, I am trying not to act my age. ;-) I grew up in Indiana in the 1940s and 1950s."