FAIRBANKS - It was almost a year to the day that Juneau-Douglas High School running back Silver Maake saw his freshman campaign succumb to a broken leg.
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On Saturday, he faced Lathrop High School, the team he played against when he suffered that injury. Calling his return triumphant would be an understatement.
The Crimson Bears' sophomore was simply golden, racking up 178 yards, including a game-changing 64-yard touchdown run, as the Crimson Bears (2-0 overall, 1-0 Railbelt Conference) dominated the second half to down the Malemutes 44-6.
"I knew this was going to come up," the soft-spoken back said of the injury. "It wasn't on my mind. I was just focused on running."
With the Crimson Bears breaking in a new quarterback in Ryan "Bubba" Larson, the Malemutes (0-2, 0-1) had their focus on Maake - to little avail.
"That was just execution. He's running off tackle - we know where he's going to run. Juneau doesn't run any reverse, you didn't see reverses tonight, trickery like that," Lathrop coach Pat Romans said. "They just execute well and we don't on certain areas. ... When we don't do that right, it's very apparent because he's off for 40, 50 (yards)."
Maake's biggest run came midway through the second quarter.
With the Malemutes holding a 6-3 lead after quarterback Freddy Richard's 39-yard strike to an uncovered Matt Sparks, Maake broke his longest run of the night. The sophomore took a handoff off tackle to the left side before cutting back toward the middle of the field and turning on the jets, out-sprinting fleet-footed Malemutes AJ Allen and Kenny Lewis for the 64-yard score.
"He's a phenomenal athlete. Last year he had a broken leg and this preseason he's been in and out of good moods because he's been so anxious to play some good football," JDHS coach Bill Chalmers said. "It was really good to see him, the first play he touched the ball against Kodiak, he went 79 yards. That gave us a feeling he might be what we were looking for, and he is. He's fast and he's smart and he's extremely strong."
The score started a run of 41 unanswered points by the Crimson Bears.
Juneau added one more score before the half - Maake's 9-yard touchdown run - then dominated every aspect of the second half, holding the Malemutes to negative-13 yards of offense after the intermission.
"Who wrote 'A Tale of Two Cities?'" Romans asked. After being told the author was Charles Dickens, he added, "Well, Dickens must have been on their sideline, because this was a tale of two halves.
"The first half, 6-3, then 6-10, then one big play by Silver and it's 6-18, and we're going, 'Okay, we're a better team than last year,'" he added, referring to last year's 69-6 loss to JDHS. "Then we see last year's team show up in terms of unity and stuff like that."
By the fourth quarter, the game was so out of hand that Chalmers had his second-team offensive line in while the first-team line took turns at halfback, with one of the lineman, Faifo Levale, scoring a touchdown.
"Well, we like to let them know, first of all, that what they're doing up front is meaningful," Chalmers said. "When they're carrying the ball, they're doing it behind blockers who aren't as good as they are and they don't usually make much yardage and they say 'Oh, I understand now.' Sometimes they can make good yardage. I guess Faifo Levale is an example of that."
Going up against the Crimson Bears' five-man defensive line, the Lathrop running backs found yards tough to come by. Kenny Lewis led the way with 88 yards on 17 carries while his running mate, Allen, amassed just eight yards.
Juneau-Douglas will travel back to Fairbanks next weekend to face North Pole (0-2, 0-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Juneau-Douglas 44, Lathrop 6
JDHS 3 15 14 12 - 44
LHS 0 6 0 0 - 6
JD-Smith 23 FG, 7:24
L-Sparks 39 pass from Richard (kick failed), 11:42.
JD-Maake 64 run (Smith kick), 7:09.
JD-Maake 9 run (run good), 1:59.
JD-A. Fagerstrom 1 run (Smith kick), 10:58.
JD-A. Fagerstrom 23 pass from Larson (Smith kick), 3:30.
JD-Smith 40 FG, 11:54.
JD-Levale 10 run (Smith kick), 2:55.
First downs 14 9
Rushes-yards 38-298 33-62
Passing yards 103 62
Return yards 98 106
Comp-Att-Int 5-13-0 5-17-1
Punts 1-40 7-28.9
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 1-0
Penalties-Yards 4-40 10-79
RUSHING-Juneau-Douglas, S. Maake 15-178; A. Fagerstrom 4-40; Maka 4-18; Gallettes 1-18; Fisher 1-15; T. Maake 1-14; Fenumiai 1-8; Levale 1-10; Hoffman 1-5; Lehrbach 1-4; Larson 3-(-1);Moser 1-(-2); Houston 1-(-3); Team 3-(-3). Lathrop, Lewis 17-88; Allen 10-8; Austin-Cruz 1-2; Hoeffel 1-(-4); Richard 4-(-24).
PASSING-Juneau-Douglas, Larson 5-13-0-103. Lathrop, Richard 5-17-1-62.
RECEIVING-Juneau-Douglas, A. Fagerstrom 3-86; Wilson 2-17; Lathrop ,Sparks 3-46; Allen 2-16.