Players never have a problem coming ready to play when the Crimson Bears clash with the Moose, but the stakes are even higher this time around.
Juneau-Douglas is currently ranked No. 2 in the state in the ASBN poll after putting up 92 points in two games during easy wins over South Anchorage and West Valley, but No. 4 Palmer is fresh off a 46-0 romp over hapless Lathrop, a team that has now lost 17 consecutive games.
"It's a huge matchup. We talk every year about this being our big conference rival because we have so much history together going back six or seven years," Crimson Bears coach Rich Sjoroos said. "This year is no different. Palmer's got another strong team and I'm sure we'll have a big challenge, but the kids are ready."
Sjoroos said the Bears don't need any extra incentive when it comes to playing Palmer.
"All you have to do is walk into practice on Monday and say, 'Hey, we got Palmer this week,' and it just lights everybody up," he said. "That's really all you have to say. Even the kids that are new to the program can sense what this means to the veteran guys."
The Bears have already had some success through the early part of the schedule, but Sjoroos knows this will be JDHS's toughest challenge to date.
"It's week two of our conference schedule and every week is a new step," he said. "We performed pretty well last week, but we definitely still have things to work on. You hope that by week three you can start to iron things out."
At this point in the season, Sjoroos said this matchup will provide a better picture of what his team is capable of.
"It's definitely a good measuring stick for both teams to see where we stack up in the conference," he said. "It's a big momentum builder."
Sjoroos said these two speedy squads mirror each other when it comes to matchups, and whenever the schools get together it generally makes for some entertaining football.
"They're physical kids, but they have good athletes this year. They can probably match us with team speed, which has been one of our strengths," he said. "It's going to be one of those games where we'll see which skill guy steps up and makes a big play to get his team on the board or get a big turnover."
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