Southeast Conference medium school power Juneau-Douglas High School showed it is still a state football beast as they dominated their former Railbelt Conference foe Wasilla 42-6 on Friday at Wasilla’s Veterans Memorial Field.
This was the first matchup for the Crimson Bears and the Warriors since JDHS was moved down to the medium school size SEC along with North Pole this season, and their second win over a former RBC opponent. JDHS (6-1) ran over the Colony Knights 33-24 at Colony earlier in the month.
““This was a good game and the kids were pretty dialed in all week long in practice,” Juneau-Douglas coach Rich Sjoroos said. “From start to finish it was kind of what we were looking for as a group. This was how we are evaluating ourselves. We are kind of getting into the money rounds now and if we are going to keep pace with the other teams in the division we have to go on the road and perform. And I thought we did a great job.”
The Crimson Bears dominated the score clock but both teams played fairly level, said Wasilla head coach Kent Rilatos.
The Crimson Bears took advantage of three Wasilla interceptions, and were helped down the stretch by some undisciplined post-play personal foul penalties that kept drives alive and the Warrior offense off the field.
Although Campos finished flirting with 200 yards rushing, the speedy senior was kept in check for much of the first half by an aggressive Wasilla defense. Even so, the Crimson Bears had built a comfortable 22-0 halftime lead, and would finish with another 20 unanswered points.
“Wasilla is a good team,” Sjoroos said. “It was nice to be a little more familiar evaluating ourselves with an Alaskan opponent. The theme for our week was that you can’t win a state title in Juneau and you can’t make it to the finals in Juneau. You have to do it on the road. At some point we will have to go on the road and I thought we did that against Wasilla.”
Juneau wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, taking the opening drive 65 yards in eight plays, capped by a 6-yard touchdown run from Campos. With the 2-point conversion, the Crimson Bears led 8-0. After forcing the Warriors to punt on their first possession, Juneau found the end zone again quickly — in one play, a 63-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Dorian Isaak to Eric Nordgren. The lead was pushed to 15-0 after Maile Maake’s extra point.
“We got a good drive going early in the game,” Sjoroos said. “Mixing it up with the pass and run. I think that is kind of the key for us, to not be one dimensional.”
Wasilla answered with an 8-play drive of their own to the Crimson Bear 24 yard line, but stalled out and missed on a 41-yard field goal attempt, which gave Juneau their third drive of the first quarter — and their third touchdown on an 8-yard scamper from Isaak.
Following Juneau’s 22-point first-quarter outburst, both teams ratcheted up their defense, playing to a stalemate in the second quarter. The Crimson Bears threatened to extend their lead late in the second, taking the ball from their own 27 yard line to the Wasilla 19 in 14 plays, but senior defensive back Kevin O’Loughlin stopped the drive, intercepting an Isaak pass with 21 seconds left in the half.
“I think the kids felt good about their efforts last night,” Sjoroos said. “A lot of different kids were getting in there and making plays.”
Wasilla came out of the break ready to play, and after Juneau turned the ball over on downs on their own 23-yard line. Four plays later, Warrior quarterback Josiah Williams took the ball into the end zone from 3 yards out. The big play of the drive was a 19-yard pass from Williams to Cody Dedrick to set up a first-and-goal situation. Juneau blocked the extra point and led 22-6.
The Crimson Bears answered the Warrior score on their next drive when Isaak connected with Adam Empson on a 17-yard touchdown. Juneau would ice the game with two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Isaak was injured on a run in the first play of the final quarter.
“It was a pretty severe sprain,” Sjoroos said. “He was tackled awkwardly. X-rays were negative but he is definitely out for this weekends game. The goal is to have him back for at least the second round of the playoffs. It is hard to say. It was an ugly looking tackle.”
Empson moved over from wide receiver to take snaps the rest of the game. He spent most of the time hand the ball off to Campos, but threw a 9-yard touchdown to Kris Hill in his only completion to cap the scoring for the Crimson Bears.
Juneau will next face Thunder Mountain in the Glacier Bowl on Saturday at Adair Kennedy Field. The game will also be Senior Appreciation night for the Crimson Bears football players and cheerleaders.
Game Stats (provided by the Frontiersman)
Juneau-Douglas 42, Wasilla 6
Friday, Wasilla High School
Juneau-Douglas — De. Campos 6 run (Sua 2-point) 10:02.
Juneau-Douglas — Nordgren 63 pass from Isaak (Maake kick) 7:00.
Juneau-Douglas — Isaak 8 run (Maake kick) 1:16.
Wasilla — Williams 3 run (kick blocked) 5:51.
Juneau-Douglas — Empson 17 pass from Isaak (Maake kick) 2:24.
Juneau-Douglas — De. Campos 7 run (Maake kick) 9:49.
Juneau-Douglas — Hill 9 pass from Empson (Maake kick) 3:28.
RUSHING — Wasilla: Otto 15-47, Thomas 2-13, Rilatos 2-1, McGregor 1-1, Williams 6-(-1); Juneau-Douglas: De. Campos 22-180, Isaak 9-33, Nordgren 2-16, McVay 2-6, Empson 2-(-8).
PASSING — Wasilla: Williams 11-22-3—132, McGregor 0-1-0—0; Juneau-Douglas: Isaak 10-19-0—234, Empson 1-2-0—9.
RECEIVING — Wasilla: Thomas 3-19, Dedrick 2-35, McGregor 2-28, Dawkins 1-31, Garnett 1-15, O’Loughlin 1-3, Horton 1-1; Juneau-Douglas: Nordgren 2-113, Da. Campos 3-29, Empson 1-17, De. Campos 1-11, Hill 4-73.