JDHS suffers first loss of season

Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010

PALMER - For years, the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears seemed untouchable.

Mike Criss / Alaska Photography
Mike Criss / Alaska Photography

But on Friday, the Crimson Bears couldn't touch Anthony Bricker.

The senior quarterback scrambled for 243 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Knights to a 26-7 win over Juneau-Douglas, the first victory over the perennial power in the history of the Colony football program.

"There are no words that can describe this feeling right now," Colony senior Dakota Wainwright said after his squad celebrated Colony's first win against the Bears in 12 tries.

Bricker accounted for three total touchdowns and Wainwright recovered a key Juneau-Douglas fumble in the fourth quarter to help the Knights improve to 2-2 overall and 2-0 in Railbelt Conference play. But more importantly, Colony finally earned the chance to claim victory against the defending Railbelt champions.

"Tonight our guys believed in themselves, that they were better than Juneau," Colony first-year head coach Brian McIntosh said.

Bricker scored the first of his two rushing touchdowns in the first quarter and connected with senior Kenyon DePriest on a 25-yard scoring pass in the second, but the Knights weren't able to separate from the Bears until a key moment in the fourth.

Following a Colony turnover early in the final quarter, Juneau-Douglas quarterback Phillip Fenumiai marched the Bears deep into Knights territory. But with Juneau-Douglas facing second-and-1 at the 11-yard line and Fenumiai in the Bears' shotgun set, the snap sailed high above the head of the sophomore quarterback. Fenumiai tried to track down the ball, but Wainwright pounced on the fumble to give Colony possession at its own 17-yard line.

"At that point, all I was worried about was getting on the ball," Wainwright said. "I wasn't worried about picking it up and running with it. I was just going to get on the ball and cover it up."

Colony held the slim 13-7 lead at the time of the fumble, but Bricker would need only four plays to give the Knights a two-touchdown lead.

Bricker broke off runs of 34 and 31 yards during the quick, four-play drive, and he scored on a 13-yard run to push Colony's advantage to 19-7.

"That ended the game right there," McIntosh said.

Bricker carried the Knights down the field on the quick drive, much like he did throughout the game. The senior had 25 carries - 10 of which were good for 10 or more yards - and he gained at least 20 yards six different times.

"He ran the ball extremely well," McIntosh said. "He's our slash. He's a quarterback, a receiver. Last year he was playing running back. He does it all for us."

McIntosh said the coaching staff had a hunch Juneau-Douglas might take away Colony's counter attack, so the Knights worked on the option plays throughout the week.

That seemed to do the trick as Bricker routinely faked to his fellow backs and found large holes on either side of the offensive line.

"He runs the option really, really well," McIntosh said of Bricker.

Bricker was quick to credit his teammates up front.

"The offensive line was great," said Bricker, who rushed for nearly 400 total yards during the last two weeks. "They stepped up tremendously, just like the North Pole game. They were the biggest factor in the game."

Skye Rench added 50 yards and a late fourth-quarter touchdown in the win.

Juneau stayed in the game for three quarters, thanks in part to the right arm of Fenumiai. The sophomore slinger threw for 282 yards and a touchdown on 22 of 44 attempts. A pair of wide receivers topped the 100-yard mark for the Bears. Senior Colin Gozelski led Juneau with 10 catches for 127 yards, and senior Chris Holloway had eight catches for 122 yards.

The Bears chewed into Colony's 13-0 lead late in the first half when Fenumiai connected with Gozelski on an 11-yard score with 49 seconds left in the second quarter.

Justin Brooks led the Bears with 53 yards on the ground, but 27 came on his final carry as the remaining seconds ticked off the fourth quarter clock. Juneau was held to 43 yards rushing.

JDHS coach Rich Sjoroos could not be reached for comment.

• Contact Frontiersman sports editor Jeremiah Bartz at sports@frontiersman

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