As summer ended, on a home field tucked in the shadow of the Kenai Mountains where the Kachemak Bay spills into the Gulf of Alaska, the Mariners of Homer High School returned to football practice.

Coach Justin Zank, eager to start his second season, rolled into workouts with a pair of donated iPads and a Bluetooth speaker the size of a submarine sandwich. He showed them off to his quarterback and team manager, who both asked what they were for. “You’ll see,” he told them. Rumor had it, the Mariners were even getting Wi-Fi installed in the press box.

Zank got this job after reviving a football program over eight years in the nearby village of Voznesenka, 25 miles north of Homer. He was used to taking big swings in life, like 10 years ago when, at 27, he and his wife decided to sell all their possessions and leave their home in southern Florida for subzero winters and remote gravel access roads 5,000 miles away. They had never been to Alaska and did not have jobs lined up. So if anyone was going to buy into this plan with the iPads, it was him.

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