Written by Staff Reporter
Fairbanks Grizzlies suffered a heartbreaking loss in their 2011 season opener against the Wenatchee Venom.
“It obviously didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” Coach Robert Fuller said of the Grizzlies 45-37 loss Sunday evening at the Carlson Center.
You could see the disappointment on Quarterback Ryan Ratekin’s face as he graciously presented a smile to the many young fans seeking autographs after the game.
“I take full responsibility for that interception,” Ratekin told me.
And it was just that; turnovers and missed opportunities were the reason they lost the game. Three fumbles in the second half alone lead to three touchdowns for the Venom and the Grizzlies complicated things further by missing four extra-point attempts and a field goal attempt. It was just more than the Grizzlies could overcome.
But you got to give them credit, no one shirked from owning up to shortcomings.
“I take full responsibility for this,” Coach Fuller said. “There were untimely personnel changes,” and offensive miscues that contributed to the loss.
Fuller is proud of the scrappy team from Fairbanks, who only fielded four returning players from the 9-5 2010 season; Devin Robinson, Noah Harris, Carl Singleton and Tony Taylor.
“These guys kept fighting and gave it everything they had,” he said.
With 14 games left in the regular season, there are plenty of things for the team to work on. For now, Fuller says, they will be focusing on the basics in preparation for their away game against Kent Predators March 6.