JUNEAU - Juneau-Douglas High School put on a display worthy of the school's athletic hall of famers in attendance celebrating the Crimson Bears' 20th season of football, rolling over Railbelt Conference rival West Valley 41-0 on Saturday at Adair-Kennedy Park.
The Bears scored on their first four possessions, while the Wolf Pack didn't make it past midfield until getting help from a JDHS penalty with just less than three minutes left in the first half. Coach Bill Chalmers said he thought the defensive line played much better than it had in the pre-season scrimmage, while the secondary surprised him with its outstanding performance.
"We don't want to let anybody score on us, and we've got the people to do it. We could see them getting better as the game progressed, penetrating deeper and handling their gaps better," he said about the line. "I'm particularly proud of our defensive secondary. There are some inexperienced people there, but they really rose to the occasion."
JDHS ran roughshod on the West Valley Defense, picking up 193 yards in the first half alone to go along with 67 yards through the air in building a 27-0 half-time lead.
Lawrenece Fenumiai snuffed the Wolf Pack's first drive with a sack on third-and-3, forcing a punt. Justin Brooks took the first play from scrimmage 46-yards to pay dirt, and a 6-0 Bears' lead in the opening minutes.
"I was telling Jack (Perkins) and everyone else on the team that I was going to take my first one to the house," Brooks said. "Jack's like my big brother, and he had my back blocking for me. The O-line did a great job. My heart was pumping, and I got wrapped up a couple of times but I kept my legs pumping, and I saw Chris Hoffman making a block for me right about the 15 (yard line). I knew this guy was behind me so I just covered up and got in, thankfully."
West Valley shanked the punt on its second possession, setting the Bears up at midfield. Brooks picked up 18 yards on his third carry, and quarterback Phillip Fenumiai connected with cousin Lawrence Fenumiai on third-and-11 with a play-action pass for about 10 yards. A flag for a late hit set the Bears up at the West Valley 11, and Jack Perkins plowed his way up the middle on the next play to push JDHS ahead 13-0 after the extra point.
The third West Valley punt traveled less than 10 yards after another monster sack by Perkins and Eric Sele, setting the Bears up at the West Valley 27.
Four plays and two penalties later, Matthew Maka hit the right corner and scampered into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown run, and with 10:53 left in the first half, it was all Crimson Bears, 20-0.
On JDHS's next drive, Phillip Fenumiai rifled a pass to Hoffman, who made it a 25-yard gain with about 15 yards after the catch, setting the Bears up at the Wolf Pack 43. Two plays later, Perkins broke two tackles and raced into the end zone from 31 yards out for another Juneau-Douglas touchdown and a 27-0 lead after a 30-yard extra point by Hoffman.
The only thing able to stop the Bears' big O was the clock. Maka intercepted a Wolf Pack pass, setting JDHS up at their own 13 with just more than a minute remaining. They weren't able to put six more on the scoreboard before the half, though Maka picked up a 58-yard gain as time expired.
Maake busted through the line for a 15-yard score at the 6-minute mark of the third quarter as the route continued with a 34-0 Bears' lead.
JDHS put the clock in constant motion early in the fourth quarter after Brooks picked up 46 yards in two runs, setting up an 11-yard play-action touchdown pass to Perkins, the first TD toss of Phillip Fenumiai's career. Perkins finished with three touchdowns, the others coming on two carries for 42 yards. Perkins was pleased to catch his freshman quarterback's first career TD pass.
"I had a dream that I had three touchdowns, but I didn't think it would actually come true," he said. "Our line really stepped it up, and Phil played his heart out. No sacks, no turnovers - I thought he did very well. I went over and told him I'm proud to be his first touchdown reception, and I'm really proud of Justin Brooks."
Brooks finished with 107 yards on 11 carries, and one touchdown
"We've seen Justin run like that in camp this summer, and he's been running somewhat like that in practice even though he's had a bad ankle, so he's not been able to go full speed," Chalmers said. "But he was full speed tonight, and he's a dynamic runner."
Maka had 76 yards on four carries and a score to go along with the one interception. Phillip Fenumiai completed 8-of-13 passes for 97 yards in his varsity debut.
Sele finished with two and half sacks on the defensive line, which set the tone all night.
"We have a great D, and it's going to pull us through this season," Sele said. "That's the strongest part of our game right now. We have a freshman quarterback who is doing great, he's fantastic, but I think our defense is our strong point. We've got some big boys up front, and I'm the smallest. We're just going to keep it up."
The only bugaboo for JDHS was the amount of penalties, but Chalmers said that's customary for the season opener.
"It's a growing experience for a lot of people, and that's always what it is in the first game of the year," he said. "You don't know what to expect and you think you've got some horses, but you don't know whether they're tame or wild."
JD - Brooks 46 run (kick failed)
JD - Perkins 11 run (Hoffman kick)
JD - Maka 10 run (Hoffman kick)
JD - Perkins 31 run (Hoffman kick)
JD - Maake 15 run (Hoffman kick)
JD - Perkins 11 pass from Fenumiai (Hoffman kick)