Malemutes Flag Football Completes Perfect Season

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 8:55 PM AKDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2022 at 2:04 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Lathrop Malemutes flag football team capped off a perfect season last night with a 12-0 victory over the West Valley Wolfpack. The perfect season also included a 4-0 record against Anchorage school (Eagle River, South, and East twice).

“I think for the girls and for me, going undefeated was really beyond our dreams at the beginning of the season,” stated head coach Lance Cheney. “We started talking... when we beat those first two anchorage teams, that we wanted to go out undefeated, and that’s really been our goal since then.”

This year, I realized we had a great group of girls coming in,” added senior, Abby Birkholz. “We decided, if we put our minds to it, we could really do anything. I didn’t expect it, but I’m glad we did it.”

The final game of the Malemutes season saw a stalemate through the first three quarters, but on the first play of the fourth quarter, Sophie Hale faked a pitch on the option, bounced outside the tackle and scampered into the endzone.

On the ensuing West Valley possession, the Wolfpack got to mid-field, but a Amy Pilon flag pull forced a turnover on downs. Which would set up the Malemutes for another scoring opportunity. This time, Hale used her arm to connect with Hannah Aemisegger for the touchdown to push the lead to 12-0.

With time winding down, West Valley threw deep, but the pass was intercepted by Brooks Whitman, and all Lathrop needed to do was run one play to get the clock running and let it bleed to zero from there.

Abby Birkholz and Sophie Hale were the two seniors that played flag football all four seasons, and they went out in literally the best way possible. Birkholz was a two-way player that primarily led the defense, and Hale was the offensive leader and facilitator. Those two pieces were not the entirety of Lathrop’s identity, but were crucial in the Malemutes 2022 success.

“It’s so special,” said Sophie Hale. “We’ve been the only two that have been here for four years, and for us to be in the middle, chanting at the end there... it was surreal.”

The Lathrop ends the season with four wins each against Anchorage teams, North Pole, and West Valley.