Friday night lights will shine on 10 teams hoping to finish the football season as a state champion this weekend when the First National Bowl playoffs begins.
Five of the eight first-round games in the Division I, Division II and Division III playoffs are scheduled for Friday, with the other three happening Saturday afternoon.
Three of the four semifinal games in the Division II and Division III playoffs are slated for Friday, beginning with a 4 p.m. game in Soldotna, where the Stars will begin their pursuit of a ninth straight state title by hosting North Pole in a Division II game.
Eagle River will travel to Lathrop for the other Division II semifinal, with kickoff set for 3 p.m. Saturday.
In Division III, both semifinal games are Friday. The 2019 champion Houston Hawks will face the Monroe Rams in a 6 p.m. game in Fairbanks and the Kenai Kardinals will head to Mat-Su for a 7 p.m. game against the undefeated Redington Huskies.
In the eight-team Division I playoffs, there are two games Friday and two games Saturday.
On Friday, the 2019 champion South Wolverines face the West Eagles at West High and the Colony Knights will host the Bartlett Golden Bears. Both games start at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, the undefeated Juneau Huskies will host the winless Dimond Lynx at 3 p.m. in Juneau and the East Thunderbirds will host the Service Cougars at 4 p.m. in Anchorage. The Thunderbirds were the winners of last year’s Anchorage School District playoffs, held after the state playoffs were canceled because of COVID-19.
The Division II winners and Division III winners will advance to the Oct. 16 state championship games at Service High. The Division III game is scheduled to start at noon, followed by the Division II finale at 4 p.m.
Division I winners will advance to Oct. 15-16 semifinal games. The championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 22.
First National Bowl
Division I quarterfinals
7 p.m. — South (2-5) at West (5-2)
7 p.m. — Bartlett (4-4) at Colony (5-3)
3 p.m. — Dimond (0-6) at Juneau (6-1)
4 p.m. — Service (1-7) at East (7-1)
Division II semifinals
North Pole (4-1) at Soldotna (6-1), 4 p.m.
Eagle River (6-1) at Lathrop (5-1), 3 p.m.
Division III semifinals
Houston (3-4) at Monroe (4-1), 6 p.m.
Kenai Central (2-4) at Redington (7-0), 7 p.m.