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Kings, Mariners lock up at Esther Shea: Seniors will be honored prior to 6 p.m. kickoff
Ketchikan High School senior Brendan Roof (26) runs through Nikiski High School freshman Corbin Reichert on Sept. 13 during a 9-8 loss to the Bulldogs at Esther Shea Field. Roof, along with his senior classmates, will be honored prior to kickoff on Friday night when the Kings host Homer High School. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Daily News Sports Editor

About an hour after the Ketchikan High School football team lost 65-0 to Houston High School on Sept. 27, the Kings shifted gears.

After the reality of their situation had set in, as they were knocked out of the playoffs, it became a team bonding moment.

“There was definitely some frustration from everybody,” Ketchikan head coach Ryan Varela said. “But it was a matter of, ‘OK, we can’t do anything about it now. We have Homer at home. It’s the last game, senior night ... bigger fish to fry.’”

Indeed, the Kings have one more game left on their schedule — a showdown against the Homer High School Mariners at 6 p.m. on Friday at Esther Shea Field.

And the Kings have one last shot to end this season on a high note.

“Definitely there’s a sense of finality to it,” Varela said. “There’s no pressure like, ‘Hey, we have to win to make the playoffs.’ It’s like, ‘Hey, we have to win because it’s our last chance as a team.’”

The Kings will enter the gridiron at Esther Shea with a record of 1-4, and 1-2 in conference competition. Their conference record matches the Mariners, but Homer is 3-3 overall.

“They’re a solid football team,” Varela said of Homer. “We’ve been watching some film on them, and they throw the ball fairly well. They did last year. So we know that’s a weapon that they have.”

Ketchikan beat Homer 48-12 last season.

“We’ve faced a lot of teams that run the ball, and rely a lot on misdirection, trickery, things like that,” Varela said. “And this team will do a lot of reads. So they’re reading one defender, and going (to) the run off of that. Or they’re throwing the ball.

“(Their) quarterback has a solid arm; the line’s big,” he continued. “They’re big, but I think our guys are quick enough and strong enough, and technically sound enough to get through (them).”

Homer lost 26-22 to Nikiski High School last week.

Ketchikan lost to Nikiski 9-8 on Sept. 13.

 “It seems like (it will be) a really evenly matched game, just compared to Nikiski,” Ketchikan’s Carter Thomas said.

Thomas is one of 13 seniors the Kings will honor prior to kickoff on Friday.

“We think it’s going be a really competitive game,” he said. “So it should be fun for our senior night.”

And that’s the perspective the Kings have had all week at practice.

“The week’s been, overall, pretty positive,” Varela said.

Lots of seniors

The Kings will honor their 13 seniors before kickoff, which is the majority of Ketchikan’s roster. The Kings list 25 players in uniform.