With a roster of just 30 players, Juneau-Douglas High School head football coach Kevin Hamrick wants his players to be as versatile as possible this season.
In addition to implementing a new offense, Hamrick is using the beginning of the season to give players experience playing several different positions.
“And so that slows down the learning process,” Hamrick said. “Some days, I don’t have enough lineman, so I’ll have to take a kid who’s kind of a fullback type and say, ‘Look, you have to learn this line position today.’ So that’s the problem, is our depth.”
The Crimson Bears went 3-5 last season and did not make the playoffs. Only the top two teams from the Southeast Conference — which includes JDHS, Thunder Mountain, Ketchikan and North Pole — qualify each year for the postseason.
Five-foot-eleven Bubba Stultz is likely to start at quarterback for Hamrick. Stultz has endured a rocky road over the past three seasons with JDHS. He was concussed his freshman and junior years. As a sophomore, he suffered a broken back.
Reluctant at first to come back for his senior year, Stultz was eventually won over by the coaches.
“I wasn’t going to play because of injuries and my coaches we pushing me, saying how good our (offensive) line was, saying we were going to get protection,” Stultz said.
Along with Stultz, Lance Galletes-Fiagatusa, Donavin McCurley, Liam Van Sickle, Nathan Van Sickle and John Elisoff make up the core of the senior class.
They will be called on to maintain positivity and keep the team playing as one.
“The team was not unified last season,” Hamrick said. “In football, you need to have team unity. You need to believe in each other, believe in the coach, and that’s what’s different this season. We have more of that inner-confidence, the brotherhood.”
Last season showed the team how easy – and detrimental – losing unity can be. Playing from behind in many games tested the team’s work ethic, said sophomore Luis Mojica.
“A good team goal for us this year is just playing 100 percent throughout the whole game,” Mojica said.
The team would receive a huge boost from defeating TMHS this year.
They’ll have two stabs at the Falcons, in week 4 at Falcon Stadium and week 7 at Adair-Kennedy Field. It’s been over two years since the team last defeated their crosstown opponents. The Falcons have won by an average of 38 points per game in that span.
“Last season we kind of got it handed to us,” sophomore Ian Mitchell D’Amore said. “It would be great to beat the big school, the successful school (in Juneau) for this sport. It’s very doable.”
2017 Season Schedule
Aug. 11 @ Houston 7 p.m.
Aug. 19 Ketchikan
Aug. 26 @ Kenai 1 p.m.
Sept. 1 @ Thunder Mountain
Sept. 16 @ Ketchikan 2 p.m.
Sept. 23 North Pole
Sept. 30 Thunder Mountain