The Juneau-Douglas High School football team fell 35-22 at Wasilla on Friday night despite 196 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns from senior quarterback Dorian Isaak and 12 solo tackles by junior linebacker Hunter Hickok.
Isaak found senior Manase Maake for 26 yards and a touchdown with 5:18 remaining in the first quarter, and Maake’s extra point gave JDHS a 7-0 lead.
However, 70 penalty yards, including unsportsmanlike conduct and rushing the passer penalties, began a spiral that saw the Crimson Bears trail 22-7 with 4:08 remaining in the third quarter of their nonconference clash with the Warriors.
“If we do what we are capable of, nobody will remember this game,” Juneau-Douglas coach Kevin Hamrick said. “That is the good thing about nonconference games.”
JDHS mounted a comeback in the fourth quarter that began with a 13-play drive and ended with an Isaak interception. The Crimson Bears recovered a Wasilla fumble two plays later on the Warriors’ 12-yard line, and the resulting score cut the lead to 22-14.
Senior Adam Empson picked off a Warriors pass at the 32-yard line, then caught an Isaak touchdown three plays later. Maake’s extra point tied the score at 22 with 4:26 remaining.
“I was proud of the way we came back,” Hamrick said.
Wasilla’s Justin Lee brought back the ensuing kickoff 25 yards and a Juneau penalty pushed the ball to the 48-yard line, where the Warriors’ Devin Otto needed only three carries for 52 yards and a 28-22 lead.
“I try to be patient and read the holes,” Otto said. “I have a lot of confidence in our front line; they take care of us.”
On the ensuing kickoff, JDHS fumbled the ball and its chance to win.
Otto carried three times and with 1:02 remaining took his third touchdown across the goal line. Teammate Carson Reed put the final exclamation extra point on the scoreboard for the 35-22 win.
“The key for us was controlling the line of scrimmage,” Wasilla coach Kent Rilatos said. “We had trouble with that last week and we spent some extra time working with the offensive line. Juneau is a big, tough, strong team. We watched them against Kenai, pushing them around, so we knew we had to really put our nose to the grindstone and work hard. I am really proud of how they did out there. Devin (Otto) has been our senior leader. The time he put in over the summer working out, I am not surprised on what he is doing. Good things happen to good people and better things happen to people who work hard.”
Juneau did have opportunities to control the game.
In the third quarter, with Wasilla facing third and 12, the Juneau defense forced a bad throw but received a roughing the passer penalty.
“Instead of fourth and 12 it was first and 10,” Hamrick said. “Interceptions hurt, the fumbled kickoff return hurt … but no one play ever loses a game. The one that happens last is what most people remember but there were a lot of mistakes. Nothing catastrophic, nothing we can’t overcome. We certainly hurt ourselves a lot over the course of that game.”
Juneau’s offensive line was key to the Crimson Bears running the ball well, which in turn led to short passes.
“We would have liked to throw the ball more, but the running game was what they were giving us,” Hamrick said. “When we did take our shots they were effective.”
Juneau’s six-man defensive line suffered a setback in the second quarter.
Junior Kana Galletes (2 tackles) and senior Michael Anderson (2 tackles) were injured on back-to-back defensive plays and did not return to the game.
The Crimson Bears opted for a four-man front to take advantage of their quickness.
“We were already short on big guys already,” Hamrick said. “That is not going to help.”
Junior Hunter Hickok stepped up in his defensive linebacker position, totaling 14 unassisted tackles and blocking one extra point attempt.
Other partial defensive stats show Mallinger with 6 tackles, Empson 4, Kaelin Deitrick 3, Maake 3, Daniel Stevens and Alex Muir 1, and Lorenzo Malacas 1 fumble recovery
Juneau hosts Colony on Saturday. The Knights defeated Railbelt Conference foe West Valley on Friday 42-20.
Other weekend scores included Soldotna 33, Palmer 0; Nikiski 16, Houston 6; Dimond 26, West 13; Service 72, Eagle River 0; Bartlett 28, East 0; South 57, Chugiak 12; North Pole 45, Ketchikan 29 (Wednesday); Kodiak 22, Homer 20; Thunder Mountain 54, Sitka 7; Lathrop 7, Kenai 6; Eielson 51, Seward 0; Barrow 58, Monroe 6; Valdez 44, Vozbesenka 8.
WASILLA 35, JUNEAU 22
Wasilla 3/ 13/ 06/ 13 = 35
Juneau 7/ 00/ 00/ 15 = 22
HOW THEY SCORED:
Juneau – 5:18 Maake 26 yard pass from Isaak (Maake kick) 7-0
Wasilla - :50 Reed 15 yard field goal 7-3
Wasilla – 7:50 Otto 2 yard rush (Reed kick no good) 7-9
Wasilla 5:16 Garnett 20 yard rush (Reed kick good) 7-16
Wasilla – 4:08 Renk 43 yard pass from Marks (PAT blocked Hickok) 7-22
Juneau – 9:36 Isaak 6 yard rush (Maake kick) 14-22
Juneau – 4:26 Empson 56 yard pass from Isaak (Isaak 2 pt rush) 22-22
Wasilla – 2:53 Otto 30 yard rush (Reed kick no good) 22-28
Wasilla – :57 Otto 2-yard rush (Reed kick) 22-35
RUSHING – Juneau: Dorian Isaak 11 carries 72 yards, 1 TD (6); Romney Tupou 6 carries 26 yards; Brady Mallinger 9 carries 33 yards; Wasilla: Devin Otto 30 carries 171 yards, 3 TD (2, 3, 30); Zach Garnett 12 carries 42 yards, 1 TD (20).
PASSING – Juneau: Dorian Isaak 10-23, 2 INT, 124 yards, 2 TD (56, 26); Wasilla: Blake Marks 4-42, 1 INT, 1 TD (43).
PAT – Juneau: Maake 2-2; Wasilla: Carson Reed 2-5 and 1 FG.
PENALTIES – Juneau: 8 for 70 yards; Wasilla: 5 for 35 yards.