I am not going to argue with Ben Jahn.
He is, after all, over 6-foot-4 inches tall and has a muscle weight of over 200-pounds and nary an ounce of fat.
Plus, and this is a big plus, he is the Thunder Mountain High School Falcons and the Southeast Conference Defensive Player Of The Year.
There are coaching know-it-alls, fan favorite-picks and sports my-you-know-what-doesn’t-smell-bad enthusiasts that all have opinions about the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears playing the Soldotna Stars on Saturday.
Jahn has played against both, offensively and defensively, and has lost to both.
“You just have to stay home and do your job,” Jahn said of facing Soldotna. “With that misdirection stuff.”
As a photographer, I’ve bitten on some of Soldotna’s plays.
Sometimes, my camera was firing eight-frames-per-second at a Stars runner who did not have the ball.
More times than not I was red faced when a player stood up without the ball, my lens zoomed into his torso.
“JDHS has the best defense in the state,” Jahn said. “A lot of talented athletes and they are pretty disciplined. The main thing is, they have to stay home and do their job.”
Jahn averaged over 15 solo tackler per game this season.
Against Kodiak he had over 30.
Juneau comes hard and they come fast. Soldotna is more restrained but solid.
“I think JD has the upper hand on offense,” Jahn said. “It usually took two or three guys to bring me down against Soldotna.”
In actuality, it took two or three guys from any team to bring Jahn down during the season.
Against Soldotna, Jahn rushed for 110-yards straight up the middle, something he thinks the Crimson Bears’ George Sua will have success with.
Against Juneau, Jahn rushed for close to 75-yards.
“I remember getting rocked by linebackers,” Jahn said. “The Crimson Bears came hard, the Stars not as much.”
“I think JDHS has the talent that allows one guy to watch for the sweep,” Jahn said. “And one guy watching the dive and the talent to not over-commit to the misdirection. But Soldotna does have the best offense in the state and they run it to perfection.”
Soldotna scored 64 points and allowed just 6 for Jahn’s Falcons.
Juneau-Douglas scored 57 points and allowed none.
“I remember getting the breath knocked out of me in both games,” Jahn said. “Soldotna had disciplined backs, but I think JD’s are more experienced and talented than ours were. JDHS would stand you up with one guy and then get you with another.”
I asked Jahn what he would do if he had a chance to go up against the teams again.
“I would pound it for the most part against Soldotna,” Jahn said. “Up the middle. I think the Stars will contain the edges pretty well. I think ‘D’ (Campos) will get off tackle.”
Jahn knows football, and about defense.
JDHS keyed on him but the Crimson Bears also bit on misdirection, once three tackled him without the ball.
“I would come hard to stop Soldotna,” Jahn said. “But the Stars like to score when teams bite. JD has a really good defense. I could see it being a high scoring game or a low scoring game but it is going to be close any way.”
Jahn sees JDHS shutting down Soldotna’s offense play-after-play, but one time they bite too hard and the Stars score.
Against both teams Jahn could win a one-on-one or a one-on-two matchup.
He gave some good hits and he took some good hits.
The hardest player for Jahn to tackle was Ketchikan’s Connor Hicks.
“Every single tackle on him was an open field tackle,” Jahn said. “Against Soldotna I was fighting through blockers all day. No one is more talented than JDHS but no one runs a system better than Soldotna.”
Jahn is, after all, the DPOY.
“I was surprised really,” Jahn said of the honor. “Yeah I was on defense a lot. “
The voting was unanimous, the honor deserved, and the knowledge warranted.
“I think it goes 35-21 for JD,” Jahn said. “I have to respect my home town boys.”
I am not going to argue with Ben Jahn.