The Juneau-Douglas High School football team received a shock Monday morning, when the Crimson Bears found out they were ranked second in the season's first Anchorage Daily News/Alaska State Football Coaches' Poll.
The Crimson Bears, who didn't win any Cook Inlet Football Conference games last year en route to a 2-6 overall record, ended an eight-game losing streak against CIFC teams with a 42-18 victory over East Anchorage on Friday. But they didn't think that was enough to move them so high in the poll.
"That Daily News one was a little surprise," Juneau coach Reilly Richey said Monday night. "One win doesn't deserve it."
Service, which beat defending state champion Bartlett 42-18 on Saturday, picked up the top spot in the poll with nine first-place votes and 53 points. Juneau was second with one first-place vote and 32 points, followed by West Anchorage with 30 points, Chugiak with 15 and North Pole with 13. Lathrop picked up a first-place vote, but didn't have enough points to make the top five.
"We don't want to be No. 1," Service coach Jason Caldarera told the Anchorage Daily News, adding that he thought Juneau was a dangerous team. Juneau plays Service on Sept. 6 in Anchorage.
"Juneau, obviously being in the Southeast, you really don't know what you have until you see them," Caldarera said. "They have a great pool of athletes and great coaches."
When the Crimson Bears (2-0 overall, 1-0 CIFC) arrived at practice Monday night, they each received a copy of another set of rankings. The Juneau coaches printed out this week's Class 4A rankings from the AlaskaPreps.com Web site, which show this weekend's opponent Palmer (1-1) ranked third and Juneau fifth.
"We'll use that one for a little motivation," Richey said. "We're looking at the other one. We figure there are two, three-hundred sportswriters involved with that one."
The AlaskaPreps.com rankings are compiled by one man, Elmore Laws of Anchorage, the father of East Anchorage quarterback Derek Laws. He ranked East eighth this week, a fall of five spots.
This is the first time the Crimson Bears have been ranked since the 2001 season, when they attained the state's No. 1 ranking for the first time in team history.
But in the weeks following that ranking, Juneau lost its season finale to Service 7-0 then lost 31-0 in the first round of the state playoffs to then-unranked Dimond. Dimond, which was seeded fourth in the CIFC for the state playoffs, went on to win its second straight state title.
"It's real early yet," Richey said. "Our goals don't have anything to do with rankings in August. Our goals are to play in October. This is a long season and what it comes down to is injuries and who peaks at the right time. We're just happy we beat East."
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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