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The 50-Yard Line

Posted: October 18, 2013 - 12:07am
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Kenai Central running back Jace Daniels rushes for a touchdown Saturday in a playoff victory over Kodiak at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai. JEFF HELMINIAK | PENINSULA CLARION
Kenai Central running back Jace Daniels rushes for a touchdown Saturday in a playoff victory over Kodiak at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai. JEFF HELMINIAK | PENINSULA CLARION

The combined records of the final four medium school football teams in the state championship chase are 31-3.

Juneau-Douglas is 7-1, Kenai 7-1, North Pole 8-1 and Soldotna 9-0.

JDHS’s significant wins include 26-20 over Viewpoint (CA), 54-20 over North Pole, 33-24 over Colony, and 42-6 over Wasilla. The Crimson Bears loss was to Tacoma’s (WA) Foss 41-22. JDHS had a bye for the first round of the playoffs.

Kenai’s most noted win is 17-14 over Wasilla and last weekend’s 47-6 playoff win over Kodiak. The Kardinals only loss was to Soldotna 58-10 in the final week of the season.

North Pole has bested large schools Lathrop, 24-13; West Valley, 28-13; Colony, 44-26; and Eagle River, 40-8. The Patriots beat Ketchikan 55-6 in the first round of the playoffs. North Pole’s lone season loss was to JDHS, 54-20.

Soldotna has dominated their medium size opponents with wins averaging over 40 points, including a win over Colony, 47-24. Colony was ousted in the first round of the large school playoffs by Dimond, 38-17. Soldotna topped Houston 69-13 in the first round of the playoffs.

The four teams have won a combined 14 state titles.

JDHS has two large school state championships (‘07, ‘05), was runner-up (‘08, ‘03), third (‘11, ‘10, ‘06, ‘04, ‘99) and fifth (‘12, ‘09, ‘01).

Kenai has six medium state titles (‘11, ‘09, ‘05, ‘04, ‘03, ‘02), was runner-up (‘10), third (‘01, ‘00, ‘96, ‘94), and fifth (‘08, ‘93).

North Pole won a large school title (‘04), was runner-up (‘87), third (‘09, ‘08) and fifth (‘12, ‘05, ‘03, ‘97).

Soldotna has five small/medium state titles (‘12, ‘10, ‘08, ‘07, ‘06), was runner-up (‘09, ‘04, ‘02, 2000), and runner-up when the title was an all-school affair (‘92, ‘90, ‘88, ‘83), and fifth (‘99).

JDHS will play Kenai at 1 p.m., Saturday, on Dimond High School’s Alumni Field in Anchorage. Soldotna plays North Pole in the second game at 4 p.m. The games can be heard by going to radiokenai.net (click on Listen Online, click on 1140 ESPN), the broadcast will also be picked up by Juneau’s 800 KINY.

How JDHS will beat you:

The Crimson Bears boast overall athleticism on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Dorian Isaak is a dual option threat. They have a number of options in the backfield, most notably Offensive Player Of The Year Demetrious Campos. If Campos can turn a corner, look out. Eric Nordgren and George Sua combine straight-ahead power with lateral speed, which serves them well when carrying the ball or when pursuing opponents. Kris Hill and Adam Empson are tall targets if Isaak options for a pass in the middle. Defensively, the Crimson Bears are too big along the line to be pushed aside. The front four of JD Hudson, George Grummett, Hunter Hickok and Noah McVay love nothing better than a three-point stance. With a core of linebackers that includes Dartanan Campos, Derik Vance, Nordgren and Sua, the Crimson Bears can contain a physical team and contest a finesse team.

How to beat JDHS:

Strike early and hold the ball from there on out. Physically, the Crimson Bears will win a stand-up, drag-down battle. If you exchange pleasantries over four quarters you will lose. However, if you can use every yard marker on the field and limit the touches of their offense, you can compete. Wear them down defensively and save your defense for the end.

How Kenai will beat you:

The Kardinals boast the state’s top runner in Jace Daniels. Daniels rushed 109 times this season for 1,293 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns. Their next highest producer was Chase Logan with 57 carries for 446 yards and six touchdowns. Kenai will use Daniels left, right and up the middle. They will also enjoy taking one-to-three yards with each play, using every second on the clock on offense and using a kicking game as a weapon. Defensively they lack the size of most teams and rely on being quick to the play.

How to beat Kenai:

Make the Kardinals offense run up the middle if you have the strength and power. Contain them (Daniels) to the hash marks. If you have the speed, force them to the sideline once they run left or right. Passing is an afterthought for the Kardinals. Their quarterback, T.J. Wagner, was just 8-19 for 141 yards in eight games. Accept the challenge of smash-mouth football. Expect multiple options in the backfield. If the front line can stay solid and press forward, the linebackers and defensive backs can exploit any missed tackle or clean up the leftovers.

How Soldotna and North Pole match up:

The Stars have not played a team as athletic as they are. Their multiple-run option works against lesser opponents and once it is figured out they look to sneak in a long pass. They are very balanced. Quarterback Colton Young was 23-48 for 589 yards, 11 touchdowns and one interception. Jake Cooley led their rushing, carrying 56 times for 736 yards and 10 touchdowns. Teammates Drew Gibbs carried 48 times for 728 yards and 11 touchdowns. Young rushed 47 times for 597 yards and 16 touchdowns.

North Pole is not a lesser opponent, the Patriots have feasted on large school teams all season and have the state’s best pass receiver in Lance Wright. Quarterback Garrett Sommer will waste little time throwing the ball in his 6-foot-3 direction. The Patriots are big and strong and love to hit. Defensive back Jordan Copeland and strong safety Lane Bonham compliment a line that includes 260-pound Ryland Ellis and similar types.

The Stars will welcome the challenge in the trenches. They love to play big on the big stage and will use the semifinal against North Pole as motivation to play another week. On any other night this would be the state championship game.

2013 CRIMSON BEAR STATS:

(Through 8 games, provided by JDHS football team)

Rushing -

(Name, Att., Yards, Avg., TD)

Demetrius Campos 65, 683, 10.5, 11

Dorian Isaak 51, 402, 7.9, 5

Eric Nordgren 18, 245, 13.6, 3

George Sua 38, 190, 5.0, 5

Brady Mallinger 11, 127, 11.5, 1

Romney Tupou 5, 73, 14.6, 0

Noah McVay 8, 49, 6.1, 0

Kris Hill 3, 44, 14.7, 0

Manase Maake 4, 39, 9.8, 0

Derik Vance 5, 32, 6.4, 0

Elden Punongbayan 6, 21, 3.5, 0

Matt Blatnik 2, 9, 4.5, 0

Clayton Formby 6, 9, 1.5, 0

Luis Lamas 3, 8, 2.7, 0

Dartanan Campos 5, 5, 1.0, 0

JD Hudson 1, 3, 3.0, 0

Manny Guillen 3, 1, 0.3, 0

Kristian Petaja 1, 1, 1.0, 1

Stewart Conn 1, -1, -1.0, 0

Jake Hamilton 6, -5, -0.8, 1

Devon Williams 1, -4, -4.0, 0

Adam Empson 5, -11, -2.2, 0

Totals 249, 1923, 7.7, 27

Passing -

(Name, Comp., Att., Yards, Comp.Percentage, TD, INT, Rating)

Dorian Isaak 45, 95, 905, 47.3, 15, 6, 94.5

Demetrius Campos 3, 7, 14, 42.8, 1, 0, 89.8

Adam Empson 1, 1, 9, 100.0, 1, 0, 143.8

Stewart Conn 0, 1, 0, 0.0, 0, 0, 39.6

Totals 49, 104, 928, 47.1, 17, 6, 94.1

Receiving -

(Name, Rec., Yards, Avg., TD)

Kris Hill 17, 378, 22.2, 8

Eric Nordgren 10, 297, 29.7, 3

Dartanan Campos 10, 101, 10.1, 0

Demetrius Campos 3, 82, 27.3, 2

George Sua 4, 27, 6.8, 1

Adam Empson 3, 26, 8.7, 2

Daniel Stevens 1, 12, 12.0, 0

Brady Mallinger 1, 5, 5.0, 1

Totals 49, 928, 18.9, 17

Scoring by Quarters -

1st / 2nd / 3rd / 4th / Total / Ppg

JDHS 163 / 91 / 71 / 45 / 370 / 46.2

OPP. 34 / 24 / 26 / 33 / 117 / 14.6

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