NORTH POLE — North Pole didn’t see the end zone against Juneau-Douglas, but the Patriots hadn’t seen a defense like the one the Crimson Bears presented.
It was partly responsible for a 57-0 loss for the hosts in Saturday’s Railbelt Conference game at Patriot Pride Field.
Garrette Duncan led North Pole with three catches for 38 yards but for most of the cloudy afternoon, he and other Patriots wide receivers were covered tighter than a drum.
“They were on us like glue and it was something I had never seen or went against,’’ Duncan said.
The Patriots (0-1 Railbelt, 0-2 overall) generated points against the defending large schools state champion West Anchorage Eagles in last week’s 44-28 season-opening loss at the Anchorage Football Stadium.
In Anchorage, Patriots quarterback Moo Rogers accounted for 420 yards of total of offense ( 234 passing and 186 rushing). In his team’s home opener, the Crimson Bears limited Rogers to 97 total yards, as he passed for 77 yards on eight of 23 attempts with an interception and he ran 12 times for 20 yards. He was also sacked twice.
“With our defense, we’ve got to go work and get paid every time we step on the field,’’ said Juneau senior Sean Niumataevalu, who was force on both sides of the ball.
Niumataevalu helped frustrate the Patriots with his coverage as a defensive back and he hauled in three passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns — a 42-yard grab for the game’s first score in the opening quarter and a 71-yard reception with 3:06 left in the second quarter for a 36-0 lead.
Patriots head coach Richard Henert knew his players, particularly on offense, were in for a tough game in their home opener. North Pole had participated with the Crimson Bears in a summer camp in Juneau and Henert was aware of the visitors’ season-opening 68-0 romp of the Thunder Mountain Falcons last week in the state capital.
The Crimson Bears quickly held North Pole’s ground game to 63 yards while Juneau’s amassed 193.
“I really have a lot of respect for (Juneau assistant) coach (Al) Fenumiai,’’ Henert said. “He really runs a great defensive scheme, just really bringing a lot of different things, a lot of pressure and just the way he can get their guys fired off the ball and cover gaps. It really makes it a lot more difficult for offenses.”
North Pole was hurt, too, by seven starters out for violating a team rule, as they were late to practices last week.
“We’re trying to send a message on how important it is to be together as a team,’’ he said.
The Patriots also had two players sidelined with illness and an injury, and Crimson Bears quarterback Phillip Fenumiai added to North Pole’s woes Saturday.
Juneau’s offensive line mostly gave the 6-foot-4, 205-pound senior enough time to stand tall in the pocket to find receivers. Of Fenumiai’s 290 yards passing, 222 of them came in the first half.
“I had a lot of time and I owe a lot to the offensive line. Without them, our offense would crumble,’’ said Fenumiai, who completed 10 of 18 attempts and had three touchdowns, the pair to Niumataevalu and a 30-yard to wide receiver Alec Calloway in the third quarter for a 43-0 lead.
Fenumiai also rushed 12 times for 117 yards and scored in the first half on respective 41 and 20-yard dashes.
The signal caller wasn’t surprised that Juneau is 2-0 overall, but he didn’t expect it to outscore its first two opponents 118-0.
“I felt confident that we were going to win both games, I just didn’t know how much we were going to score,” he said. “I’m really proud of my guys today.”
Lah Fifita scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter and Kohl Jaeger and Gary Speck each add 6-yard TD runs in the fourth for an offense that Juneau head coach Rich Sjoross has kept simple, as only three starters returned from last season.
“We actually have a lot of new kids, even though there’s some skill there,’’ Sjoross said. “There’s no sense in throwing too much at them until they can get kind of the basics down. So we’re a new group of guys kind of still trying to find our chemistry.”
The Patriots will try to find their first win when they visit the unbeaten Lathrop Malemutes (1-0, 2-0) in a Railbelt game at 7 Friday night.
“This might actually be a good thing for us, seeing how much farther we can go forward because this is about as dark as it gets” Duncan said of Saturday’s loss. “This is the darkest hour. I feel we’re going to come in Monday morning with a new perspective on our season and really work to create something new this year.”
Defensive tackle Aaron Betts had a solo sack and assisted on a sack by fellow Patriots defensive tackle Garrett Longoria.
Juneau-Douglas (2-0, 1-0) faces Railbelt rival and the ASBN Poll’s No. 3 Palmer at 8 p.m. Friday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
JDHS JV rips North Pole 38-6
The junior varsity continued to click on all cylinders behind the great blocking of the line, anchored by Kristian Pateja, in a 38-6 win Saturday at North Pole.
Trey Williams scored the first touchdown of the game on a sweep around the outside. Pateja even got in on the scoring action on a 1-yard bulldoze up the middle. Dorian Isaak and Chris Hill connected on a 15-yard passing touchdown, and George Sua ripped a 56-yard touchdown run on his only carry of the game.
Dartanan Campos led a defense coached by high school junior Trevor Pfaff and offensive line coach Eric Sele in the absence of CJ Keys, who was unable to travel.
Coach Angelo Katasse said he would allow his players to enjoy the win Saturday and Sunday, but Monday it will be back to business.
“It is always nice to get a win on the road,” Katasse said, “but we are already focusing on Palmer.”
The Bears are now 2-0 on the year and face Palmer at 5 p.m. Friday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.