From the press box comes colorful play-by-play: "It's fourth-and-Wasilla for the Packers!"

From the front office come promotions that help pay the bills: A big gain gets you a NAPA Auto Parts first down; jumping offsides earns you an Accurate Hearing Systems penalty.

And from the guys on the gridiron come an assortment of dreams and realities that fuel the Alaska Football League.

Laughing at the lighthearted taunting of players on the opposing team, 2Jordan Daniels, left, lines up with his Greatland Packers teammates before the start of a game against the Eagle River Broncos on August 26, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Fans cheer for T-shirts being thrown into the stands during a game between the Greatland Packers and the Eagle River Broncos on Aug. 26, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Tamarik Wilks escapes a tackle in a game against the Eagle River Cowboys on Sept.  3, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Most of the players are in their mid-20s or beyond. They're guys who are raising families and working jobs, sometimes more than one. Some go straight from day jobs to practice. Some go straight from games to night jobs.

They sweat and suffer for a game they just can't quit.

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"Keepin' the dream alive," said Sone Su'a, a 23-year-old defensive end with the Greatland Packers. "Because football's not just a game to us. It's a game we love. We're tryin' to stay in shape, tryin' to get noticed, tryin' to get in some conditioning."

Football isn't exactly a lifetime sport, but the Alaska Football League gives guys like Su'a a chance to keep playing after their high school or college days are over.

Kendall McVay, Dalontia Wilson and Mitchell Joseph talk with their coach during an evening practice before the season began on July 18, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Greatland Packers head coach Allen Franklin, center, coaches while tending to his kids Alias, 2, in his arm, and Avaya, 4, during a practice on the Delaney Park Strip on July 18, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
The Greatland Packers run through plays during a summer practice with no pads on July 18, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Jordan Daniels, left, and Kendrick McVay listen to their coach during a preseason practice on July 20, 2018, on the Delaney Park Strip. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Mitchell Joseph sits in his car and talks to teammates while holding his dog on July 20, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Created in 2008, the AFL has long outlived its beginnings as a development league for the long-gone Alaska Wild professional indoor football team.

It's a five-team amateur league that plays 9-on-9 football from early August to mid-October, with most of the games played under the lights at Anchorage Football Stadium.

Tickets are $5 for adults and free for kids. The league pays for officials and stadium rentals through sponsorships and team fees, while players chip in for uniforms and equipment.

"It's low-budget entertainment," said Abe Hernandez, who started the league. "We're going on 11 years and we're proud to have been able to keep it around. We keep the costs low because it's a community league, and that's important to us."

Kendall McVay yells in support of the Greatland Packers on Aug. 26, 2018. McVay won an offensive MVP award as a Packer in 2015. This season he plays for the Arctic Seahawks. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Anthony Pereira holds his son Alex Pereira while taking in the Greatland Packers and Eagle River Broncos game on Aug. 26, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
The Greatland Packers sideline celebrates a touchdown in a game against the Eagle River Broncos on Aug. 26, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Wilson Edwards of the Greatland Packers heads out of the stadium at Chugiak High School after a game against the Eagle River Packers on Aug. 26, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Salapu Liufau, of the Eagle River Broncos, heads off the field after a win against the Greatland Packers at Chugiak High School on Aug. 26, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)

At a game earlier this month between the Greatland Packers and Anchorage Cowboys, the Cowboys cruised to a 40-0 victory in front of a crowd of about 150.

On the field was a chain gang composed of young women called "Ball Babes." Between quarters, little kids were invited onto the field for sumo-bopper contests and other games.

In the press box turning phrases like "it's fourth-and-Wasilla" was Delvin Myles, a 1990 Bartlett High grad who is a member of the Alaska Football League's Hall of Fame.

Myles was all-Big 8 Conference as a cornerback at Oklahoma State and played professionally in Canada and various arena league from 1996-2004, including the Alaska Wild for the final four years of his career.

Myles was over 40 before he finally retired. He understands football dreams, and he knows those dreams are part of what the AFL is all about.

"Some guys just have to build up their skill set," he said.

Greatland Packers receiver Damon Sherman-Newsome tries to pull in a pass over defense from Joey McMahon of the Anchorage Cowboys on Sept. 3, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Aisoli Lealasola cools off on the sidelines during a game against the Anchorage Cowboys on Sept. 3, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)

And a few AFL players have done just that, using experience gained in the league and exposure from its YouTube channel to land spots on junior college teams or professional indoor teams.

But the majority of players aren't looking beyond the AFL. They have families, jobs, responsibilities. They just want to put on pads and helmets and play tackle football, "so this gives them a chance," Myles said.

The game between the Cowboys and Packers showcased the range of the league's players.

Leading the Cowboys to a victory was quarterback Shawn Adgerson, a 2010 West High graduate who spent last winter with the Kearney Hawks, a professional indoor team in Nebraska.

Adgerson, 27, said he has played some form of professional arena football for the last several years and has no plans to quit.

"I dream football. I sleep football. I eat football," he said.

Adgerson is one of the best players in the league — in four games, he has thrown for nearly 500 yards, with six touchdowns and no interceptions.

Maybe the best athlete in the league is Packers wide receiver Damon Sherman-Newsome, who is playing football for the first time in more than a decade.

A 25-year-old Bartlett High graduate, Sherman-Newsome played three seasons of Division I basketball at Colgate University, where he scored more than 1,000 career points. He played a year of pro basketball in Spain before returning to Anchorage and getting a state job with Health and Social Services.

He's a lean but solid 6-foot-5 who last played football when he was 14 years old. The game's camaraderie and competition drew him back, he said.

"I'm just trying to have fun," Sherman-Newsome said. "It's just another way to work out outside the gym."

The Greatland Packers talk in the locker room at halftime of a game against the Anchorage Cowboys on Sept. 3, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Demetrius Lalofau talks with a coach in the locker room at halftime of a game against the Anchorage Cowboys on Sept. 3, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Jordan Daniels of the Greatland Packers is wrapped up by several Anchorage Cowboys defenders on Sept. 3, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Trey Taylor, center, celebrates with his Anchorage Cowboys teammates after a lopsided win over the Greatland Packers on Sept. 3, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Defensive back Bernard Hutton has been in the league for a decade. He helped the Packers win back-to-back AFL titles in 2016 and 2017,  but this season has been more of a grind. The Packers lost their first four games before finally picking up a narrow victory last week.

Hutton, an auto body tech, remains upbeat despite the losses.

"Listen, I die hard for football," he said after the lopsided loss to the Cowboys. "I love the game. … It's not tiring, it's fun. It's recreational and it gets me out of the house."

Packers lineman James Luaao, 32, is back in the league after a seven-year break. One of his sons began playing Pop Warner football this summer, making dad's return to the gridiron a special one.

"First the dad watches the sons play, then the sons watch the dad," Luaao said.

Luaao said he took time off from football to take care of his family and avoid injury. Now that he's working as a nurse's assistant for the state of Alaska, he's less nervous about injuries. "Now I've got good medical (insurance)," he said.

And then there is Demetrius Lalofau, a mammoth offensive lineman for the Packers who fibbed when asked what position he plays.

"Running back," he said, pausing for effect. "I run back and forth on the sideline."

Lalofau joked that he plays football not to get in shape but to "find a shape." Pause. "A better one."

Lalofau was quick with the wisecracks as he lingered with fans and players in the AFS parking lot after the loss to the Cowboys.

It was nearly 10 p.m., but whatever aches and pains he needed to nurse would have to wait. In a couple of hours, Lalofau's overnight shift at the Anchorage airport would start.

A long day? Yes. And well worth it.

"I like to come out here and have fun," he said. "Bang heads and do what I know."

With the game winding down in a lopsided loss against the Anchorage Cowboys, King Matavao of the Greatland Packers heads to the sidelines on Sept. 3, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Damon Sherman-Newsome gathers his gear to head home after a game at Anchorage Football Stadium on Sept. 3, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)
Anchorage Cowboys defensive end Keiuntai Lane heads out after an evening game at Anchorage Football Stadium on Sept. 3, 2018. (Marc Lester / ADN)