WASILLA - It was injury added to insult for the Wasilla Warriors when they met head-on with the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears' steamroller on Friday.
Led by 6-foot-2, 240-pound freshman quarterback Phillip Fenumiai, the Bears' offense put up 47 unanswered points to blank Wasilla 47-0 Friday in the Warriors' Railbelt Conference opener at Veterans Memorial Field. It was the Bears' second straight shutout to open the season.
"He's managing things well, and we've got some veterans around him so he doesn't have to make all the big plays," offensive coordinator Rich Sjoroos said of his freshman signal caller. "If we had a younger team, we probably wouldn't put a freshman in there just because we wouldn't want that added pressure on him. But it's a good fit right now."
The Crimson Bears have scored 88 points in their first two games. Sjoroos said the only thing that's surprising about the amount of points is the way JDHS has been able to finish drives.
"Usually, early in the year, you run into more hickups," he said. "But we've only had one turnover, and that's been big for us. He hasn't thrown any interceptions yet, and hopefully he'll keep making good decisions and take the sure throws."
And the Bears' defense gave up just 147 total yards of offense, 88 of which came on 11 carries by Tyler Polis.
The game started well for the Warriors when their defense recovered a fumbled handoff on the first play from scrimmage. A five-play drive had Wasilla deep inside Juneau territory, only to see its momentum deflated by a fumble recovered by the Bears.
The Bears' offense took over at their own 12-yard line. Six plays later, at the Warriors' 49, Fenumiai made the easy dump-off pass to fullback Jack Perkins out in the flat. Perkins broke the initial tackles around the line of scrimmage, hit the sideline and didn't stop.
After a Chris Hoffman point after, Juneau held a seven-point lead midway through the first quarter.
Wasilla got the ball back around its own 20-yard line. On the first play, quarterback Cody Pfeifer completed a pass to wide receiver Izaak Probasco. But a hit by the Bears caused the ball to be flipped in the air and right into the hands of linebacker La Fifita.
With excellent field position, the Bear's drive was capped by a 6-yard touchdown run by Silver Maake.
The ensuing kickoff saw the Warriors start their next offensive drive at their own 7-yard line. Wasilla got the ball to the 40 before being forced to punt. Pressure in his face caused the kick by Kyle Welton to be short and high, giving the Bears the ball back at Wasilla’s 48-yard line.
The defense held the Bears to a fourth down with four yards to go. Electing not to punt, Perkins instead took the ball 44 yards into the end zone. The point after gave the Bears a 21-point lead with 51 seconds left in the first quarter.
“That was just a dive play, and I thought it was a little bit long because we ran it earlier and only got about a yard,” Sjoroos said. “I thought it was a little bit of a stretch, but Phillip was confident in Jack that he could get that, and he did. He was able to break a couple of tackles, and ... he’s going to get recognized now because he’s got that breakaway speed.”
The Warriors went three-and-out on their next drive, but then their defense forced the Bears to punt. Wasilla’s offense put together a seven-play drive with a committee of running backs, but was again forced to punt.
With 5:11 left in the second quarter, Fenumiai completed a pass to Matthew Maka, who ran 51 yards for the Bears’ fourth touchdown.
With 1:02 left in the first half, Fenumiai completed a pass to Perkins, who took it in for another six points. Juneau went to the break leading 35-0.
Defense dominated the third quarter. Neither team could mount a scoring drive, and Wasilla ended the quarter with another interception by the Bears.
Starting with the ball on the Wasilla 18-yard line, Maake made quick work of the drive, scoring on the second play with a 6-yard run. The point after was blocked by the Warriors, giving the Bears a 41-0 lead.
Wasilla turned the ball over on downs after failing to move the chains on the next drive. Juneau ate the rest of the clock with eight runs, ending with a five-yard touchdown run by Justin Brooks. The point after was blocked again, setting the final score with 27 seconds left in the game.
How they scored
JD — Perkins 49 pass from P. Fenumiai (Hoffman kick)
JD — Maake 6 run (Hoffman kick)
JD — Perkins 44 run (Hoffman kick)
JD — Maka 51 pass from P. Fenumiai (Hoffman kick)
JD — Perkins 42 pass from P. Fenumiai (Hoffman kick)
JD — Maake 6 run (kick blocked)
JD — Brooks 5 run (kick blocked)