WASILLA — Forget the crowning during the annual dance, Wasilla High is sporting about 40 homecoming kings this year.
The Wasilla Warriors stunned top-ranked Juneau-Douglas 53-33 on Friday, using five second-half touchdowns to earn their first victory over the Crimson Bears in program history.
“It’s my top victory in my football career in high school, and I’m pretty sure everyone else on the team also,” senior Braydon Kuiper said as the Warriors celebrated their historic homecoming win.
Senior Devon Teeling rumbled for a 187 yards and two scores, and junior Ben Fielder threw for 266 yards and four touchdowns to help Wasilla improve to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in Railbelt play, while knocking conference power Juneau-Douglas off its pigskin pedestal for the first time this season.
JDHS entered the contest boasting a perfect 4-0 mark, outscoring opponents 209-13. The Warriors knew they’d have their hands full with a Crimson Bears squad that has not missed the postseason since joining the Railbelt, but were also riding the tide of a two-game winning streak.
“We were confident, but cautious,” Kuiper said. “We knew what they could do. They have firepower all around the field. We just had to come out, be confident and stay composed.”
Before Friday, Juneau-Douglas had blanked three opponents and allowed just 13 points — off two touchdowns scored in a minute-and-a-half — during a 29-13 home win over Palmer two weeks ago.
But early in the second, when Fielder found a wide-open Kuiper along the left sideline, the Bears found themselves behind for the first time this season.
“The confidence kept building once we found out what we could do to get by their defense, which is amazing,” Wasilla senior Tyler Anderson said. “They’ve got a good defense, but we just knew what to do to get around them.”
Wasilla used the steady attack of Teeling on the ground and the explosive potential of its passing game to reach the end zone eight times. Teeling scored twice and Fielder factored into a half-dozen touchdowns.
The junior signal caller threw for four scores and ran for two more.
The Railbelt rivals were close for two quarters, but Wasilla began to separate in the third. Anderson hauled in the first of his two touchdown catches on the Warriors’ first drive of the second half, giving Wasilla the 26-12 lead.
Juneau-Douglas’ Jerick Ibias scored on a 1-yard run midway through the third to bring the Bears back within a score. But on the first play of the ensuing Warrior drive, Teeling followed a Ryan Pomrenke block and busted through the middle of the field for a 60-yard touchdown run.
The Warriors extended their lead to 40-18 late in the third quarter with Fielder’s second short touchdown run. In the fourth, Wasilla added two more scores.
“We kept our foot on the gas the whole time,” Wasilla head coach Kent Rilatos said.
Fielder was particularly efficient during the final 24 minutes, finishing the final two quarters 4 of 5 for 74 yards and two scores.
The Warriors also kept the talented Fenumiai under constant pressure. Fenumiai finished 19 of 31 for 312 yards, but was consistently flushed out of the pocket.
“Our front seven did an amazing job,” Rilatos said.
Fenumiai’s favorite target was Sean Niumataevalu, who finished with six catches, 164 yards and three scores. Fenumiai led the Bears on the ground with 84 yards and a score.
Overall, Rilatos was excited to see his squad realize its potential.
“We’ve preached all year, stay together as a family and we’re going to pull it together for four quarters sometime,” Rilatos said. “I’m not saying today was a perfect game, but to beat the No. 1 team in the state and to beat a program that Juneau’s been over the last decade, hands down it’s the best victory I’ve been part of during my 20 years of coaching. Easy.”
How they scored
JDHS — Fenumiai 1 run (run failed)
WHS — Fielder 2 run (kick blocked)
WHS — Kuiper 30 pass from Kuiper (Perry kick)
JDHS — Niumataevalu 40 pass from Fenumiai (run failed)
WHS — Adair 23 pass from Fielder (run failed)
WHS — Anderson 8 pass from Fielder (Perry kick)
JDHS — Ibias 1 run (kick failed)
WHS — Teeling 60 run (Perry kick)
WHS — Fielder 8 run (Perry kick)
JDHS — Niumataevalu 20 pass from Fenumiai (Soto kick)
WHS — Anderson 51 pass from Fielder (Perry kick)
WHS — Teeling 5 run (kick failed)
JDHS — Niumataevalu 13 pass from Fenumiai (Speck pass from Fenumiai)