Juneau-Douglas took care of visiting Lathrop quickly and efficiently Friday night with a 69-6 victory at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
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The defending large-school state champion Crimson Bears (2-0, 1-0 Railbelt) forced five turnovers and refused to allow the inexperienced Malemutes (0-2, 0-1) any room to breath in both teams' conference opener.
"I'm in awe of the way the defense played," JDHS coach Bill Chalmers said. "I can't remember a more dominating performance by a defense ever."
The Crimson Bears scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams. Sophomore running back/cornerback Alex Fagerstrom scored rushing and receiving TDs and returned an interception 25-yards for a third score.
Senior fullback/linebacker Alex Robinson returned a fumble on the game's first play from scrimmage 20 yards for a TD. He also hauled in a 23-yard pass from Chris Hinkley in the win.
Carlo Ebron returned a kickoff for a touchdown, Nate Wilson rushed for two scores, Hinkley added a rushing TD and Faifo Levale rumbled and juked his way to a 45-yard score late in the fourth quarter.
"I would hate to try to defend this offense because it's multifaceted," Chalmers said. "Chris Hinkley is a great quarterback, but he's not all that the offense is. I don't know if people are going to start doing what I do and watch Alex Robinson play because that's where the action is. You go where Alex is and that's where the fun is."
While Juneau-Douglas' offense basically scored at will, the night belonged to the Crimson Bears' ferocious defense.
The defensive line and linebacking corps penetrated Lathrop's offensive line at will.
Juneau's defense, led by Levale, frequently got to backfield at about the same time Lathrop's quarterback handed off the ball. Juneau limited the Malemutes to 18 yards of total offense, picked off two passes, recovered three fumbles and recorded two quarterback sacks.
"Being quick off the ball is the main thing," Levale said. "I think our linemen did great today, both sides of the ball, especially on the defensive side. Causing that pressure allows the cornerbacks and free safety and secondary to just get interceptions, tackles, everything."
Chalmers said, "Today I think we saw how dominating he (Levale) can be. He got in and broke up pass plays, knocked down the ball, prevented sweeps, stacked up the middle, but he wasn't alone. Donovan Wilson, Phillip Moser, even Ivan Miramontes, the smallest kid on the he team was just dynamic in there today."
Lathrop struggled to move the ball but did enjoy a solid performance from Kris Beale.
Beale intercepted a Hinkley pass and provided the team's offensive highlight.
Running a deep route, Beale showed great concentration by hauling in a 70-yard pass from Richard after it was deflected by Ebron. JDHS safety Kanaan Bausler sprinted to catch Beale at the 1-yard line, but Richards punched it in on the following play for Lathrop's lone score.
"When you get a butt-kicking, you take the butt-kicking and try to improve from it," Lathrop coach Patrick Romans said. "But our kids don't quit. They were warriors out there. They're working as best as they can to fit into the system as best they can."
Juneau did not escape the game unscathed. Freshman starting running back/defensive lineman Silver Maake broke his right fibula in the first half after rushing for 78 yards on eight carries. Maake is expected to be out six weeks.
"Losing him is a big thing, especially to me," Levale said. "He's one my close friends on the team. I took him under my wing. So did a lot of the other guys. Losing him will be a disadvantage, especially in the backfield. But it should be that big. We have ... different people who can fill that position."
Hinkley completed 10-of-18 passes for 182 yards, Wilson led Juneau on the ground with 122 yards on seven carries. Fagerstrom added 84 receiving yards on three catches.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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