Thirty seconds into Friday night’s 55-21 Thunder Mountain High School football win against the visiting Ketchikan Kings it was obvious how dominant the Falcons offense would be against the Kings; and less than a minute later it was obvious how dominant the Falcons defense would be.
TMHS senior quarterback Villi Tupou completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Shayne Brown 28 seconds after the Falcons took the opening kick off. The Falcons used their no huddle offense, ran three plays and scored.
“Last week we figured it out,” TMHS offensive coordinator Branden Mahle said. “This week we put it together, next week against Kodiak will be a good one. We will find out if it is real or not. We were clicking on all cylinders.”
On the Falcons ensuing defensive stand Josh Tupou stripped the ball from a Ketchikan runner and ran 35 yards for the games second score. The defensive line held on the two prior Kings’ rushes.
Ben Jahn connected on both extra point kicks and without breaking open the water bottles the Falcons held a 14-0 lead.
It was also obvious how improved the Falcons have become as young men with character. There was no finger pointing after touchdowns, no standing over fallen foes and absolutely no push to stack on huge point totals against an over matched Ketchikan team.
“We did what we wanted to do the first quarter,” Falcons head coach Bill Byouer said. “That was to open up our passing game and work on it. Villi saw what was going on, saw the reads and he hit on them. We moved the ball very well.”
Byouer was adamant that the game involves more than the final score.
“The learning lesson is in composure,” Byouer said. “It is also in respect for the other team. There is no reason we want to run the score up to 80 or 90 points and that could easily happen. So we want to control our kids, rein then in and teach them other options on the field.”
With three minutes still remaining in the first quarter Ben Jahn intercepted Ketchikan quarterback T. McBurnette and scampered 26 yards for another touchdown, kicked the extra point, and then assisted on the ensuing kick off tackle.
Jahn would kick a perfect 7-7 on extra points kicked after touchdowns, accounting for 13 points on the night.
With just under two minutes remaining in the first quarter V. Tupou kept the ball and scored on a run off center. The Falcons put three more touchdowns on the score clock in the second quarter as J. Tupou ran for 31 yards, and senior John Jolly had two short runs over the middle.
With 2:16 remaining in the second quarter, senior defensive back Chris Mack set the TMHS interception record for a season, picking off his fifth pass in three games and stopping a Ketchikan drive.
“This record is for all of us,” Mack said after the game. “Even though this is an individual record I could not have done it without the team. We work hard together and we are a family. Our mentality here at Thunder Mountain is that we are a family. One Team One Dream is our motto. One person can’t stand out from he rest no matter how good they play. I have a lot of great teammates.”
Mack also had four receptions for 64 yards in the game.
“Keep your heads on straight,” Byouer told the Falcons in the halftime huddle. “You have to be aware out there. Be football players. I don’t want any injuries.”
The Falcons, leading 49-0 at the half, gave the second half of play to their junior varsity team. Ketchikan would earn three touchdowns in the second half but the last score of the game found the ball in the hands of the Falcon responsible for the games opening touchdown.
Shayne Brown rambled the sideline on a hand off for 76 yards.
“I have not run that far for a touchdown since JYFL (Juneau Youth Football League),” Brown said. “I really liked it. It was fun, an on the spot thing.”
The Falcons forced four turnovers in the game. Jahn, Mack and senior Dalton Wellard had one interception apiece and J. Tupou a fumble recovery.
Six different Falcons scored on the night. V. Tupou connected on 9-10 passes for 177 yards and one touchdown, and ran three times for 13 yards and another score. Brown had two rushing attempts for 87 yards and a touchdown. Jolly had seven rushing attempts for 50 yards and two touchdowns and one pass reception for 17 yards. J. Tupou ran four times for 48 yards and one touchdown.
Ketchikan’s Connor Hicks rushed 21 times for 150 yards and one touchdown and T. McBurnette had seven rushes for 36-yards and two scores.
“I just told the kids to keep their heads up,” Ketchikan coach Lee Silva said. “It is a building thing. We are a young team. We have 14 kids who have never played football before. If everyone comes back next year we will be tough. I am glad we never gave up. Thunder Mountain put in their younger players too and it was a game. I like the positives that I see in our team. We have some work to do but I like these kids. I told them to stay focused because we will see the Falcons again at our home.”
Thunder Mountain will host the Kodiak Bears on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the FALCONS CARE - MILITARY GAME. The Falcons will be honoring all branches of the military. All proceeds from the gate, product sales and donations will be given to US. Marine Corps, Sgt. Thomas McRae, a local Marine who was seriously wounded in Afghanistan in January 2012. McRae will be in attendance with his mother Carolee Ryan. The Falcons’ desire is too help McRae build a new home in North Carolina where he is still in physical therapy.
How They Scored Friday Night:
11:32 - TMHS, Brown 15 pass from V. Tupou (Ben Jahn kick) 7-0
10:40 – TMHS, J. Tupou 35 fumble recovery (Jahn kick) 14-0
3:18 – TMHS, Jahn 20 interception (Jahn kick) 21-0
1:52 - TMHS, V. Tupou 5 run (Jahn kick) 28-0
10:42 – TMHS, J. Tupou 31 run (Jahn kick) 35-0
8:09 – TMHS, Jolly 3 run (Jahn kick) 42-0
3:38 – TMHS, Jolly 3 run (Jahn kick) 49-0
7:07 - KHS, T. McBurnette 12 run (Nate Fousel kick) 49-7
9:16 – KHS, Hicks 61 run (Fousel kick) 49-14
2:31 – KHS, McBurnette 26 run (Fousel kick) 49-21
1:20 – TMHS, Brown 76 run (PAT failed) 55-21