The Juneau-Douglas High School junior varsity team's defense bent about as much as it possibly could, but didn't break as the Crimson Bears JV claimed its second straight shutout victory with a 20-0 decision over the Ketchikan varsity Saturday night at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
"Our defense is doing good," Juneau linebacker Naash Richey said.
"We had our best week of practice," Juneau defensive back Angelo Katasse added. "We have the subs to go with our defense this year, so everyone's fresh. But we couldn't have done it without our line."
Juneau used a pound-the-ball running game to take a 13-0 lead into the fourth quarter as Seve Candelaria scored two touchdowns. His first came midway through the first quarter on a 7-yard sweep, and his second was midway through the third quarter on a 1-yard plunge after a lengthy drive where Candelaria got the ball on nearly every play.
"The first one was a sweep and I don't think they were ready for it," Candelaria said. "The other was on a load (play)."
"Seve's a workhorse," Juneau defensive back-kicker Richard Isett said. "Our offense clicked a lot more this week. We lost Brett Van Allen (for the season because for discipline reasons) this week and he was one of our best players. But we stepped up without him."
The Crimson Bears clinched the victory with 10:16 left in the fourth quarter when Katasse intercepted a pass from Ketchikan's Brandon Larson and ran it back 38 yards for a touchdown to make the score 20-0.
"He (Larson) was looking where he was passing," said Katasse, who was voted Juneau's player of the game. "There were three of us and only one of them."
After that, the only drama in the game was whether or not Juneau's defense would hold on to its second shutout of the short season. Juneau's JV opened the season by beating the Kenai JV 7-0 last weekend.
It didn't take long for Ketchikan to throw some doubt into the shutout, as three plays after Juneau's last touchdown Larson completed a screen pass to Raymond Secrest, who broke through a hole on the right side and appeared headed toward the end zone. But Richey was able to chase Secrest down, wrapping him up so Katasse could make the touchdown-saving tackle after a 79-yard pass play.
"I thought I had it. I thought I had the touchdown," said Secrest, who was Ketchikan's player of the game after picking up 117 all-purpose yards.
Even though he didn't get into the end zone, Secrest said he thought Ketchikan had a chance to drive in for the score from the 11-yard line. Ketchikan drove to Juneau's 2-yard line early in the fourth quarter, but the Kings fumbled the snap on third down and Katasse recovered the ball.
Then, when the Crimson Bears couldn't move the ball on their possession, Katasse avoided a sack in the end zone and got off his punt. Not only did Katasse get off a short line-drive kick to avoid the safety, but the punt hit a Ketchikan player and Isett fell on the ball to give possession back to the Crimson Bears and save the shutout.
The loss dropped Ketchikan to 0-2, and the Kings have yet to score this season after losing 36-0 to Sitka last weekend. In Greatland Conference action Saturday, Sitka lost to Anchorage Christian Schools 31-18 to fall to 1-1.
"We were driving pretty well, but that last drive killed us," Ketchikan coach Richard Tombaugh said. "It's coming together, but we had five turnovers."
Ketchikan, which has yet to win a game in three years of existence, dropped out of the Northern Lights Conference this season to play an independent schedule. The Kings will play two teams from British Columbia this year - Terry Fox of Port Coquitlam, B.C., and Campbell River - and Tombaugh said he's got four Canadian teams on the schedule next year.
"We're having a blast," Tombaugh said. "The Canadian teams are really eager to play the teams from Southeast Alaska."
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.