The Juneau Alumni Football game on Friday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park was anything but calm with the combined energy from the crowd, live band and players creating a spirited aura despite the tough competition.
The game which included 57 alumni football players ended with an 11-0 score with Team Juneau taking the win over Team World. Despite the game’s end score, the night’s mission was already achieved before the players even hit the field.
Rich Sjoroos, the event’s emcee and Juneau Huskies coach, said the annual alumni game was a “huge success” and the funds raised will allow the team to purchase 30 sets of new shoulder pads, new training gear and assist players in the high travel costs associated with the season.
“It’s our biggest event of the year and it’s a great event — it makes it feel food to be a coach,” he said. “It’s neat to see people reunite and stay connected and it’s neat to be a part of these guys’ lives.”
Sara Chambers, Juneau Huskies Football Board member at large, said each year the team has to raise at least $100,000 to support travel and other costs associated with the sport. She said this year’s game raised approximately $13,000 for the team.
Outgoing Juneau School District Superintendent Bridget Weiss, who was selected to be the game’s honorary coin tosser, donned her letterman jacket from her time as a varsity cheerleader, volleyball player, track runner and student at JDHS.
She said the event is always a great time for the community to come together and cheer on players young and old.
“It’s just such a fun community event and brings back so many good memories for so many people,” she said. “You can feel the energy on the field.”
Team Juneau coach and player Bradon Ridle said he thought the game went great with everyone having a good time and no major injuries reported.
“I thought the game and both sides did really well and at the end everyone was friendly and it was what we hoped for,” he said. “I think everyone had fun.”
Team World coach and player Lino Fenumiai agreed and said it’s difficult to raise the funds necessary to pay for the players to travel to play each season, and the game and the funds raised are crucial to help ease that cost.
“I think it was awesome and we do this for the kids because they’re our future and we do this for the community,” he said. “Overall, I think this was great for everyone to come together and it’s competitive but you know at the end of the day we all know each other.”
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)-528-1807.