A full slate of sports is on hand this weekend for Juneau-Douglas High School.
All five fall varsity sports will be in action, as the football team visits North Pole while the tennis, cross country and swimming teams all make their regular season-debuts. The volleyball team will host a preseason jamboree at JDHS.
The Crimson Bears' football team (2-0, 1-0 Railbelt) visits defending state champion North Pole (1-1, 0-1) at 6 p.m. Saturday in what should be an emotional affair.
For Juneau-Douglas, this will be rematch of last year's state semifinal contest, in which the Patriots ended the Crimson Bears' season.
JDHS brings a high-powered offensive attack to North Pole this time around. Quarterback Chris Hinkley (8 TDs, 3 INTs) leads an impressive passing attack that has averaged more than 250 yards in the air per game this season. The Crimson Bears have also excelled on the ground. Senior tailback Tres Saldivar has rushed for 287 yards in two games.
North Pole should be prepared as it makes its home debut. The Patriots will be looking to right their ship after their 11-game winning streak was snapped last Saturday in a 34-6 loss to Colony.
The JDHS defense must account for Patriots quarterback Chris Powell and running back Sheyenne Graywood. North Pole loves to run the ball, and JDHS must find a way to force the Patriots into passing situations. A couple big stops on first and second down means the Bears' aggressive defense could force a mistake on third-and-long.
The tennis team will join the football squad up north, as the Crimson Bears play in their only scheduled tournament of the season. The JDHS tennis players will participate in the Fairbanks High School Invitational, where JDHS will take on other Alaska high schools in a team-tennis format.
Back in Southeast Alaska, the cross country and the swimming and diving teams will open the regular season with regional meets in Sitka.
The cross country team is fresh off an outstanding performance in last weekend's Bartlett Relays. Juneau-Douglas was the only school that placed two teams in the top 10. The Bears take to the starting line at 11 a.m. Saturday.
In the pool, the Crimson Bears' boys swimming team will open defense of their 2004 state title. The girls will also be competing and looking for a strong start to the season. The meet starts today.
In Juneau, the volleyball team will host its unofficial kickoff to the season with its jamboree. Teams from Ketchikan, Sitka and Metlakatla will attend. The tournament kicks off at 4 p.m. today. Saturday's session begins at 10 a.m.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org