Juneau-Douglas High School senior Eric Nordgren showed the heart of the Crimson Bears football team, scoring on an interception, a kick off return and making a touchdown saving tackle in Friday’s 26-20 win over California’s Viewpoint Patriots at Adair Kennedy Field.
Special teams played big for both teams as Viewpoint’s Noah Doneen scored on an interception just 30 seconds into the game and Bobby Webster kicked the extra point.
Six minutes later Nordgren scored on his own interception to cut into the lead 7-6. The extra point failed for the Crimson Bears.
“I feel great,” Nordgren said. “Making the run up the middle and then we brought the game back. My mindset was I am taking it to the end zone and we are going to win this game, it’s my senior year and we are going to take it.”
Viewpoint added a field goal by Webster and a one-yard plunge by running back Dominick Brown to hold a 17-6 halftime lead.
JDHS head coach Rich Sjoroos could not remember the last time a JDHS team trailed at halftime by as many points at Adair Kennedy Field and came back to win.
“Usually we are invincible at home,” Sjoroos said. “When we get behind at home our armor is broken and we are having trouble and it usually goes from bad to worse.”
Before the game Sjoroos wrote on the team chalkboard all the scores of games against out-of-state teams.
“We’ve won a few,” Sjoroos said. “But we have lost a lot more than we have won.”
Sjoroos had a second column on the board that showed the score in the first half.
“We always come out shell shocked because they are not from around here, we can’t compete. This team doesn’t believe in that stuff. They are a different group and I told them that tonight.”
The magic started for JDHS with the opening kickoff of the second half. Senior Demetrius Campos took the kick deep on the right side of the Crimson Bears half, slashed to the middle, and continued into the left side of Viewpoints defense and across the goal line with just 14 seconds gone. Manase Maake added the extra point.
JDHS then stopped the Patriots next possession and Kris Hill took a pass over his shoulder from Dorian Isaak and raced 67-yards for the score. Maake added another boot for a 20-17 advantage.
“The adrenaline was pumping,” Hill said. “I just kept running and I felt that guy on my backside and he pushed me into the end zone. It was just a great feeling. I am faster than I look.”
Viewpoint worked downfield quickly but could only manager a field goal.
On the ensuing kickoff, Nordgren barreled down field, broke two tackles, and rumbled into the end zone for the 26-20 lead.
The JDHS defense came up big in the final eight minutes.
After Nordgren’s score, Viewpoint returned the to their own 36 yard line. A swing pass put the ball into the hands of the Doneen who broke a tackle and was headed for pay dirt. Nordgren, playing as a linebacker, fought back from a blitz and chased down Doneen at the 11 and as the Crimson Bears held strong to force a fourth-and-14, Nordgren forced the receiver to miss an end zone pass.
Twice the Crimson Bears watched as Viewpoint got within 10-yards of a score.
With Viewpoint looking at fourth-and-one at the 19-yard line of JDHS, the Crimson Bears surged into the backfield to drop the Patriots for a loss.
Isaak then took a knee three times to run out the clock for the win, as Viewpoint had no timeouts available.
Juneau-Douglas (2-0) 26, Viewpoint (1-1) 20.
Scoring by quarters
11:27 - VP: Noah Doneen 23 interception return (Bobby Webster kick).
5:25 - JD: Eric Nordgren 30 interception return (kick failed).
3:55 - VP: Webster 33 field goal.
2:14 - VP: Dominick Brown 1 run (Webster kick).
11:46 - JD: Demetrius Campos 90 kickoff return (Manase Maake kick).
8:34 - JD: Kris Hill 67 pass from Dorian Isaak (Maake kick).
8:46 - VP: Webster 22 field goal.
8:36 - JD: Nordgren 77 kickoff return (kick failed).
Team statistics -
JD 23-1-0; VP 28-3-1
JD 2-13-90-1-1; VP 29-47-329-0-3
Total offense: JD 91; VP 332
First downs: JD 3; VP15
Penalties: JD 9-74; VP 8-65
Fumbles-lost: JD 3-2; VP 3-1
Individual statistics -
JD: George Sua 7-27-0, Demetrius Campos 3-18-0, Dorian Isaak 5-2-0, Romney Tupou 2-2-0, Brady Mallinger 1-1-0, Team 5-(-49). Total 23-1-0.
VP: Dominick Brown 23-17-1, Adam Balaban 3-16-0, Zack Chulak 1-(-9)-0, Team 1-(-20).
JD: Dorian Isaak 2-13-90-1-1.
VP: Zack Chulak 29-47-329-0-3.
JD: Kris Hill 1-67-1, Devin Flake 1-23-0.
VP: Noah Doneen 17-202-0, Drew Neubauer 6-58-0, Adam Balaban 1-25-0, Dominick Brown 2-17-0, Tim McAloon 1-11-0.