Intense start brings success for the Bears

Strong defense and efficient offense mark a good beginning to the 2007 campaign

Posted: Monday, August 13, 2007

Juneau-Douglas High School defensive coordinator Eddie Brakes was interested to see how his team would react immediately following Saturday's 41-0 win over Kodiak.

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There was no yelling or screaming, just a couple pats on the back by the Crimson Bears.

"These guys were not real satisfied at the end of the game," Brakes said. "Not a lot of hooting and hollering, but that was imprint. I was interested to see the reaction at the end of the game. I think a lot of them are critiquing their own personal performances, and that'll make for a good practice."

JDHS wasn't perfect, but the coaches staff didn't have many complaints about the team's effort.

"I thought we played with tremendous intensity on the defensive side of the ball," Brakes said.

That intensity resulted in forcing six turnovers and recording eight sacks.

Defensive end Zach Heppner had two sacks and batted down a number of passes, while Chance Gallettes, Buzzy Hotch, Jake Nelson and Phil Moser penetrated Kodiak's line with regularity.

Defensive end Dominic Smith, one of the state's top soccer players, showed his ability to learn and react in the win.

On Kodiak's first offensive play, Smith over-pursued the quarterback which resulted in a big gain on a screen pass.

When Kodiak tried the same play later that game, Smith alertly backed off his pass rush to knock down the screen pass in the flat.

"You get upset at big plays by the opposing defense, but when they learn from it, it more than compensates for it," Brakes said.

"Dom had an awesome debut. He proved he's the man out there. You go his way, he'll make a play."

Offensively, Juneau-Douglas played efficiently in the win.

Again, however, it was the intensity and extra hustle that impressed the coaches

On halfback Silver Maake's fourth touchdown run of the game, offensive coordinator Rich Sjoroos said he was impressed by wide receiver Erick Waters' determination to make a downfield block.

"The one that stuck out to me was in the third quarter with Silver running and Erick Waters came over from the other side of the field to make the final block," Sjoroos said. "That's a long way to run. I thought that was cool."

While Maake led the Crimson Bears with 183 yards and four TDs on 12 carries, Juneau-Douglas showed its depth in the win.

Sandon Fisher played most of the second half at quarterback in relief of Ryan Larson while Maka racked up 25 yards and a score on five carriers.

"Lincoln Maka came in and gave us some pop," Sjoroos said. "I was just happy for him as a person. He's had to sit a long time and he was probably the most eager I've seen to play in a game that really counted."

Juneau's revamped offensive line also performed admirably.

Center Faifo Levale tackled Moser and Jake Nelson, and guards Lawrence Fenumiai and Matt Lehrbach helped pave the way for more than 200 yards rushing.

"Obviously we had a few breakdowns but I'm still pleased," Sjoroos said. "For the first week to give up one sack, and pressured on one or two others throws, but most of the time (Larson) had time to throw the ball."

Up next for JDHS (1-0) will be a speedy Lathrop team. The Malemutes (0-1) feature quick running back Kenny Lewis, though the team fell 44-30 to Bartlett on Saturday.

"The speed that Lathrop has will be more than any other team we'll see in our conference this year," Sjoroos said. "They're the fastest. We'll have to come up with some creative drills, just some different coaching techniques to counter their speed."

• Contact sports editor Tim Nichols at 523-2228 or sports@juneauempire.com.

Web links

See highlights and commentary from Saturday's game on www.juneauempire.com/sports/081207/spo_20070812001.shtml.

For even more sports, see sports editor Tim Nichols' blog at www.juneaublogger.com/sports/



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