Nonconference matches highlight opening week of prep football

Ready or not, high school football begins this week, and the state's top two teams according to the preseason rankings will say aloha to the new season by playing games in Hawaii.

Service and West are the top two teams in the first Alaska Sports Broadcasting Network rankings of the season.

Service, the defending state champion which earned the No. 1 ranking among large-school teams, opens with a nonconference game against Leilehau, a school in Wahiawa, Oahu.

West, ranked No. 2, plays a nonconference game against Punahou, a Honolulu school that boasts Barack Obama among its alumni. In 2008 and 2009, Sports Illustrated ranked the school's athletic programs as tops in the nation.

The first week features lots of nonconference games. The biggest one pits the No. 1 team in the mid-small rankings -- always-tough Soldotna, ranked first among medium- and small-school teams, will take on Palmer, ranked third among the large-division schools.

Soldotna grabbed the No. 1 ranking over second-ranked Homer, which lost to Kenai in the medium-schools state championship game last season. In its opener, Homer tangles with Eielson, ranked third among mid-small schools.

Rankings were determined by a vote of the state's broadcasters and other media members.



1. Service - Leilehua (Hawaii)

2. West - Punahou (Hawaii)

3. Palmer - Soldotna

4. East - Kenai

5. Juneau-Douglas - Thunder Mountain

Others receiving votes -- North Pole, Wasilla, Bartlett, South.



1. Soldotna - Palmer

2. Homer - Eielson

3. Eielson - Homer

4. Kenai - East

5. Barrow - Monroe

Others receiving votes -- Skyview, Kodiak, Nikiski.

Anchorage Daily News