Four Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears are in Anchorage for the 24th Annual Al Aska Shrine North-South Football Classic that will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at Anchorage Football Stadium.
Quarterback Brett Fairchild, tight end Jake Miller, lineman Zac Campbell and lineman Bret Russell all made the trip for the honorary game for senior all-stars.
Wide receiver Jacob Dutton was also invited to play, but Juneau coach Reilly Richey said he was unsure if Dutton was able to get to Anchorage. Three others -- lineman Justin Rasmussen, linebacker/fullback Sione Tupou and defensive back Willy Dodd -- were not able to attend due to cost or commitments to the wrestling team. The Crimson Bears will all play for the South team.
The annual game benefits the Shriners' Children's Hospital Fund, which helps about 570 Alaska children at Shriners' hospitals around the country. Two years ago the Alaska game raised $1,200, but last year it earned $12,000, game coordinator Rodney Young said. This year Young said the Shriners hope to raise $20,000.
In past years the game took place in the summer, but had a hard time getting crowds and players because of fishing, other sports and vacations. Many of the players were rusty because of the layoff, and play was a bit ragged when the games were in the summer.
The game was moved to the week after the state championship game last year and play improved. The North team won last year's game 22-0.