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Intensity drives JDHS to its 2nd conference crown in three years

First play from scrimmage helped spark key 20-6 win over Colony

Posted: Monday, September 17, 2007

Juneau-Douglas High School offensive coordinator Rich Sjoroos had a feeling Thursday night during the team dinner that his Crimson Bears were locked in for Colony.

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It took the first play from scrimmage Friday for him to confirm those good vibes.

After Dominic Smith kicked the ball through the end zone for a touchback, middle linebacker Donovan Wilson jumped the snap count to sack Colony quarterback Collin Murphy on the game's first play.

"When we took the field and kicked it in the end zone and then stuffed them from the first play of the game, it gets everyone jazzed up," Sjoroos said. "Donovan was the instigator. He just comes to play and has been that way all year."

RAILBELT CONFERENCE

(Conference, Overall)

Y-Juneau-Douglas (5-0, 6-0)

Palmer (3-1, 3-3)

Colony (2-2, 3-3)

North Pole (2-2, 3-3)

Wasilla (2-2, 4-2)

Lathrop (1-4, 1-5)

West Valley (0-4, 0-6)

(X-qualified for playoffs, Y-conference champs)

Friday's scores

Juneau-Douglas 20, Colony 6

Palmer 52, West Valley 6

North Pole 43, Eielson 7

Saturday's game

Wasilla 47, Lathrop 6

Sept. 21 games

West Valley at Juneau-Douglas, 8 p.m.

Wasilla at Colony, 7 p.m.

Sept. 22 game

North Pole at Palmer, 2 p.m.

Lathrop at Kodiak, 3 p.m.

COOK INLET CONFERENCE

(Conference, Overall)

X-Chugiak (4-1, 4-2)

X-Service (4-1, 5-1)

Dimond (3-2, 4-2)

South Anchorage (3-2, 4-2)

East Anchorage (3-2, 3-3)

Bartlett (2-3, 3-3)

West Anchorage (1-4, 2-4)

Eagle River (0-5, 0-6)

Friday's scores

East Anchorage 46, West Anchorage 0

Saturday's scores

Service 43, Dimond 10

Chugiak 52, Eagle River 7

South Anchorage 49, Bartlett 2

Sept. 21 game

East Anchorage vs. Eagle River, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 22 games

West Anchorage vs. Bartlett, 1:30 p.m.

Dimond at Chugiak, 2 p.m.

Service vs. South Anchorage, 7:30 p.m.

The play started a dominant physical performance by JDHS. The Crimson Bears forced Colony out of its running game, scored 14 first-quarter points and went on to win the Railbelt Conference with a 20-6 victory.

Not bad for one night's work.

"I think this was a quality team win," JDHS defensive coordinator Eddie Brakes said. "The first quarter we were out there taking no prisoners. We were playing smash-mouth football. That was beautiful."

Offensively, running back Silver Maake frequently found extra yards by fighting through tackles.

The offensive line of Matt Lehrbach, Lawrence Fenumiai, Faifo Levale, Phil Moser and Jake Nelson also excelled, especially in the first half.

"The line steps up every week and today is the best game they've ever stepped up in," Maake said Friday. "I dedicate this game to them."

Maake also benefited from extra attention paid to wide receiver Alex Fagerstrom in the game. Sjoroos said Colony put an "over-under" on Fagerstrom - meaning that the Knights had defenders in front of and behind Fagerstrom in pass coverage.

More Knights covering Fagerstrom meant less people stacking the line to stop the run.

"With Colony, I didn't know what they were going to stop because they're smart coaches," Sjoroos said. "They put an over-under on Alex and had a safety in the middle of the field. That's three guys paying attention to Alex. He only got one catch and one carry, but that opened up Silver and really opened up (fullback) Donovan Wilson."

On defense, the front five caused Murphy fits throughout the game.

Tackles Moser and Nelson held the inside together while defensive end Zach Heppner used his speed to get in the backfield.

"Zach Heppner is awesome," Brakes said. "I think he had three, four knocked-down passes and solo tackles and he was coming in on the dive."

Juneau's defense stymied the Knights until the fourth quarter. Colony scored in a hurry with a spread formation, but it was the draw plays up the middle that provided the bulk of the yards.

"Colony called some good draw plays near the end and those were good calls," Brakes said. "I don't know how much more we probably could've done on defense."

Murphy threw the ball 30 times in the game, forcing the secondary to come through.

Brakes singled out cornerbacks Lincoln Maka and Fagerstrom for their efforts against the pass and the run.

"Lincoln Maka played a very sound game at corner," Brakes said. "When they tried to hit the edge on us, he kept the receivers in front of him beautifully. When we knew it was a run, the challenge for the cornerbacks was to become an outside linebacker. Once you have a run read, you come up and you're still part of the play. I really applaud their efforts."

JDHS didn't leave the game unscathed, however. Starting defensive end/kicker/punter Dominic Smith dislocated his elbow and is likely gone for the season.

Dakotah Smith filled in at end against Colony and held his own, making a couple of tackles.

"I have no worries putting him in the game," Brakes said of Smith. "He's done really well."

Web links

For video highlights of Friday's game and a rundown of the weekend in JDHS sports, check out Tim Nichols' sportscasts at http://multimedia.juneauempire.com/video/tim_on_sports/index.shtml

New sportscasts are uploaded every Thursday and Sunday morning.

Also, check out Nichols' blog at www.juneaublogger.com/sports/



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