South High is a high school in Anchorage, Alaska, it is home to many sports like football, basketball, tennis, volleyball, gymnastics, etc. I interviewed three people who were at the heart and center of the South varsity football team during the 2020 season. The interviewees are head coach Walter Harmon, quarterback Jackson Harmon, and cornerback Kellen Curtis.
The South Wolervies entered the 2020 season as the defending state champions and looked to defend that title, but the 2020 season was far from what anyone expected. Throughout the offseason, rules were put in place to limit the spread of Covid-19, there were tests and protocols each team had to follow specific directions. When asked how he kept the players in football shape without being able to tackle for the first few weeks, coach Harmon stated that there were "Two hurdles with the return, no contact, and no ball, its a game all about the ball." Without a football, any player would have a hard time practicing, whether you are on offense, defense, or special teams. Senior cornerback Kellen Curtis was happy with the coaches and how they were prepared, "I believed the coaches and the whole staff had us for the season and the last game," said Curtis. Senior quarterback Jackson Harmon also mentioned the coaches were " As prepared as you can be during a national pandemic."
The boy's varsity team remained the same, but some players who gave an extra boost to the team the previous year ended up graduating. The season did not go the way the players and coaches wanted, coach Harmon was confident in "Bringing home another state title." Jackson also commented that there were "A lot of missed opportunities." From an outsider looking in, those missed opportunities could have been turnovers on important drives, no 3rd&4th down conversations, and just not making the most of a good play. There were also "More injuries during this season than the past six years combined," coach Harmon stated.
The mentality in the locker room can make or break a game or a season for a team or individual player, Jackson said "We were a really close group, no matter what we would always make sure to keep our heads high." The quarterback is usually a team leader or one of the few captains, with that comment, Harmon showed his leadership through his words. Curtis gave more of a detailed explanation and added that the team was "Very glad to be able to play every game." He also mentioned that the mentality was, "Playing like it was our last high school game ever, given Covid could end our season at any moment."
One thing that happens when you reach the highest point you can be at as a person, is that the person will develop an ego, this usually affects some players during an offseason. But, coach Walt wasn't taking a chance, every season he brings in coaches from all around and has them talk to his team. When speaking with the coach, he made it clear that he does all he can to clear the locker room of egos, "No egos, we did a really good job between the coaches and players during the offseason."
While it was a weird final season for these two players, they have thought about their future in the game and have some options to look over. Kellen has received offers from Southwest Baptist University, University of Puget Sound, Pacific University, and a verbal offer from Vally City State. Jackson has received offers from Dickinson State, Vally City State, and Southwest Baptist. Jackson hopes he can play D1 football at Montana State. Recently, Jackson committed to Montana State University and will play at the D1 level, a talented athlete will soon be in Montana. Kellen has also committed to Southwest Baptist University, which is a D2 school that plays in the GLVC(Great Lakes Vally Conference), soon Southwest Baptist will have a diverse athlete on the defensive side of the ball.
With the impact of the pandemic, no team would be fully prepared but these players and coaches made the best of it and did not just roll over, they worked hard and played up to their best, I would like to thank Jackson Harmon, Kellen Curtis, and coach Walter Harmon for letting me ask each question as well as good luck and congratulations on making it to the next level.
Kellen Curtis- @kellencurtis
Jackson Harmon- @jcksnhrmn