One big quarter provided everything the Juneau-Douglas High School football team needed to seal its second Railbelt Conference title in three years Friday.
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The Crimson Bears (6-0, 5-0 Railbelt) scored 14 points in the first quarter and held on to defeat Colony 20-6 at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Field.
"It feels great," JDHS fullback/linebacker Donovan Wilson said. "We've been practicing hard, and I think we practiced how we play. We stepped up our intensity because we knew this would be an intense game."
Juneau-Douglas started the game eager to win the title.
After fielding a Colony punt on the Knights' 38-yard line, JDHS ran nine rushing plays in nearly four minutes for the Bears' first score on their first drive. Quarterback Ryan "Bubba" Larson capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run as Silver Maake added the two-point conversion.
JDHS went up 14-0 on its next drive as Maake scored his eighth TD of the year on an 11-yard run. Larson converted a key fourth down on the 9-play, 39-yard drive when he hit Alex Fagerstrom on an 18-yard pass.
The star of both drives, however, was Maake.
The sophomore rushed for 57 yards on 11 carries in the first quarter. On the game, Maake totaled 138 rushing yards on a season-high 31 carries and caught one pass for 28 yards.
In five previous games, Maake's averaged 16.6 rushes per game.
"The coaches asked me when I was going to run 31 times, and I told them this is the game," he said. "I'll be ready for it."
Conversely, Colony struggled against Juneau-Douglas' aggressive defense.
The Knights amassed just 24 yards of first-half offense, rushing for -28 yards. Quarterback Collin Murphy was 2-for-11 for 53 yards and was sacked four times in the first half.
Coach Jaime Mayo's squad improved as the game wore on, but the first-quarter deficit proved too much to overcome.
"The bottom line is their guys came out a little more enthused than our guys," Mayo said. "In the first quarter, they completely dominated our guys on both sides of the ball physically. The rest of the game, I think we were even with them."
After Wilson's 2-yard TD run put JDHS 20-0 early in the fourth quarter, Colony caught fire by going to a hurry-up, spread offense.
Led by Geno Paoletti's power running on draws, Colony traveled 93 yards on 11 plays to score. Murphy hit wide receiver Ryan Rupe on fourth-and-goal for the Knights' lone score.
Colony drove to Juneau's 20 later in the fourth quarter, but the Crimson Bears' defense stiffened to preserve the conference title. Juneau-Douglas also extended the Knights' losing streak to three games.
Colony (3-3, 2-2) struggled to run the ball, managing 68 yards on 24 carries. This forced Murphy, making his first start for the injured Bradley Truax, to put the ball up early and often.
He went 7-for-30 for 113 yards. Many of those incomplete passes were knocked down at the line of scrimmage by Juneau's defensive line.
"Under the circumstances he did an outstanding job," Mayo said of Murphy. "They put a lot of pressure up the middle, and I don't think it would've mattered who we put back there at quarterback. If you've got three, four guys in your face every snap before you take two steps, you're not going to be able to do anything."
With the win, JDHS secured a top seed in the playoffs and a home game in the quarterfinal round.
Juneau-Douglas will look to stay undefeated next Friday as it hosts winless West Valley (0-6, 0-5).
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 20, COLONY 6
JDHS 14 0 0 6 - 20
Colony 0 0 0 6 - 6
JDHS - Larson 2 run (Maake run), 6:32.
JDHS - Maake 11 run (kick failed), 1:39.
JDHS - D. Wilson 2 run (kick failed), 11:56.
Colony - C. Murphy 5 pass to Rupe (run failed), 6:47.
First downs 16 8
Rushes-yards 58-202 24-68
Passing yards 44 113
Return yards 144 41
Passes (comp-att-INT) 2-10-1 7-30-0
Punts 3-38.6 8-29.1
Fumbles-lost 9-0 3-0
Penalties-yards 10-95 7-46
RUSHING - JDHS: Maake 31-132, N. Wilson 10-60, D. Wilson 5-49, Fagerstrom 1-9, Smith 1-5, Larson 10-(-3). Colony: Paoletti 5-96, Jaronik 1-2, J. Murphy 10-(-4), C. Murphy 8-(-26).
PASSING - JDHS: Larson 2-10-44-1. Colony: C. Murphy 7-30-113-0.
RECEIVING - JDHS: Maake 1-26, Fagerstrom 1-18. Colony: J. Murphy 3-61, Mouton 2-36, Rupe 2-16.
Contact sports editor Tim Nichols at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.