FAIRBANKS - Andy Musgrove entered Saturday's game wanting to prove a point.
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Out of the starting lineup, and shut out of the stat sheet the previous week, the North Pole wide receiver wanted to make his presence felt every time he stepped on the field.
It's safe to say Juneau-Douglas knew he was there.
However, even Musgrove's ability to attract double teams wasn't enough to get the rest of the offense going. The Crimson Bears blacked out the Patriots' high-voltage running attack en route to a 30-13 Railbelt Conference victory at Patriot Pride Field.
"They're playing double coverage on both our receivers and our only to touchdowns were on passes," Musgrove said. "So, I mean, that means we need to work on our running game and make sure our o-line gets off the ball a little better, and we should be able to come out with a win (next week) against Wasilla."
Patriots running back Todd McCormick, who entered the week as the Interior's leading rusher with 300 yards in two games, managed just 9 yards on seven carries in the first half against Juneau's five-man defensive line. North Pole (0-3, 0-2 Railbelt) didn't pick up a single first-half first down.
McCormick finished with 86 yards on the ground.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 30, NORTH POLE 13
JDHS 10 8 0 12 - 30
NPHS 0 7 0 0 - 13
JDHS - Safety (McCormick tackled in end zone), 7:07.
JDHS - T. Maake 4 run (T. Maake run), 4:53.
NPHS - Ebanez 70 pass from Wright (Ebanez kick), 11:33.
JDHS - T. Maake 5 run (T. Maake run), :46.
NPHS - Musgrove 75 pass from Wright (pass failed), 11:06.
JDHS - Larson 1 run (run failed), 10:00.
JDHS - Maka 10 run (kick failed), 2:21.
First downs 12 7
Rushes-yards 52-220 23-87
Passing yards 83 176
Return yards 48 62
Passes (comp-att-TD) 5-12-0 6-19-2
Punts 5-41.0 4-36.5
Fumbles-lost 5-0 4-3
Penalties-yards 3-25 8-52
RUSHING - Juneau-Douglas: S. Maake 24-124; T. Maake 9-77; Maka 3-8; Larson 7-4; Smith 1-5; Wilson 1-2; Gallettes 1-(-2). North Pole: McCormick 19-86; Jones 1-1; Wright 2-0; Ebanez 1-0.
PASSING - Juneau-Douglas: Larson 5-13-1-83. North Pole: Wright 4-11-0-151; Jones 2-8-0-25; McCormick 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING - Juneau-Douglas: Wilson 3-33; Fagerstrom 1-25; T. Maake 1-25. North Pole: Musgrove 4-106; Ebanez 2-70.
MISSED FIELD GOAL - Juneau-Douglas, Smith 46 (WR).
"Just on our side of the ball offensively, we just didn't step up and execute," Patriots coach Richard Henert said. "There were a lot of passes there that were almost there that we should have caught - a lot of close things here and there we could have had offensively to change the game."
The Crimson Bears' ability to penetrate North Pole's backfield paid dividends early when they tackled McCormick for a safety early in the first quarter. Dominic Smith's punt to North Pole's 1-yard line set up the score.
After that, the Juneau-Douglas running attack took over as Silver Maake's hard running set up a 4-yard touchdown scamper by his cousin, Tuavao Maake.
The Patriots pulled within three on their next drive when quarterback Steven Wright connected on a 70-yard scoring strike to Dane Ebanez.
With the Patriots facing third-and-9, Wright avoided the Juneau rush and threw up a lob. Ebanez came back to make the catch, cut back to the middle of the field and picked up a key block from Musgrove for the score.
"I threw a bad pass and luckily Dane made up for my mistake," Wright said. "He's a talented receiver and he was able to cover for me."
Tuavao Maake added his second TD with 46 seconds left in the half on a 5-yard run off tackle on which he bobbled the ball near the goal line.
"Yeah, it did (make my heart race)," he said. "I thought I was going to drop it, but it just stayed right there and I was able to grab on to it."
North Pole's defense, which allowed 52 rushing yards to Silver Maake alone in the first quarter, clamped down after intermission and shut Juneau out in the third quarter.
The Patriots pulled within striking distance, 18-13, at the start of the fourth on Musgrove's 75-yard reception.
Musgrove, streaking down the left sideline, overcame double coverage and a defensive pass interference penalty to haul in the ball near the Juneau 30-yard line before breaking a tackle en route to the end zone.
"Man, if the ball's underthrown and the defender gets his hands on it, you can't stop. You've got to keep going," said Musgrove, who finished with a game-high four catches for 106 yards. "So he got his hands on it, and what do you know, it landed on my leg. I trapped it to my leg, and before you knew it I had a touchdown."
Juneau-Douglas (3-0, 2-0 Railbelt), however, answered right back.
Tuavao Maake's 44-yard run set up quarterback Ryan "Bubba" Larson's 1-yard TD plunge on the ensuing possession.
"I've said all year that Tuavao is one of our most gifted athletes," Juneau coach Bill Chalmers said of the senior, who got the majority of carries when Silver suffered a possible separated shoulder early in the third quarter. "He's a soccer player and he's very fast and strong. He can play linebacker, and he's so gifted at so many things."
The loss leaves the Patriots still searching for their first win of the season. But after playing with the No. 3 ranked team in the state, according to the Alaska Sports Broadcasters Network poll, for the better part of four quarters, Henert hopes this is a game they can build on.
"We told the players at the end that I hope we learn something from it, that I hope we use something from it," he said. "A couple players got fired up for the first time all year, which is good. It was a very competitive game with a very good team."
After two straight games in Fairbanks, Juneau-Douglas will host Palmer (1-2, 1-1) at 8 p.m. Friday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Field.
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