The Lathrop Malemutes bring speed and determination to Saturday afternoon's football game against Juneau-Douglas in the Railbelt Conference opener.
The Malemutes (1-0) are fresh off a 36-35 victory over Dimond High School on Friday. Lathrop had to move the venue of the game from Fairbanks to Anchorage and then withstand a wild 27-point rally to win.
Lathrop rushed out to a 22-0 lead before Dimond stormed back to seize a 35-28 advantage. The Malemutes gamely fought back, however, as quarterback Derek Stevenson hit John Theis with a 20-yard TD pass with 3:23 remaining in regulation. Lathrop added a 2-point conversion to complete the comeback.
Stevenson is a dual threat at quarterback and was equally adept running and throwing last week against the Lynx. He rushed for a game-high 142 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown run, scored a pair of two-point conversions and completed 8 of 13 passes for 66 yards.
jdhs vs. lathrop
who: crimson bears vs. malemutes
when: junior varsity at noon, varsity at 3 p.m. saturday
where: adair-kennedy memorial park
what: railbelt conference opener
Chuck Quint added a pair of TDs for the Malemutes. He scored on a 20-yard run and hauled in a 36-yard TD pass from Stevenson.
The Crimson Bears (1-0) opened the season last Saturday by defeating defending small-school state champion Kenai 35-9.
JDHS excelled at mixing the run with the pass. Junior quarterback Chris Hinkley threw for a single game school-record of 287 yards, while tailback Tres Saldivar amassed 150 yards on the ground.
Saldivar's running proved crucial, as he toted the rock just 13 times in the game, good for a robust 11.5 yards per carry average.
Hinkley's ability to find the open receiver and the offensive line's relentless attacking helped create open space for Saldivar to run towards.
How the JDHS defense reacts to the running and throwing of Stevenson, coupled with how the Crimson Bears' offense plans to keep the Malemutes off-balance will likely determine Saturday's outcome.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.