Despite playing and winning some close games in recent weeks, the Juneau-Douglas High School football team retained the top spot in the Anchorage Daily News/Alaska State Football Coaches Polls released earlier today.
The Crimson Bears are undefeated with a 7-0 overall record and a 5-0 Cook Inlet Football Conference mark, but they've only scored 34 points in their last three games. Luckily for Juneau, the defense has allowed just 21 points and the Crimson Bears won all three contests.
They defeated the former No. 1 East Anchorage Thunderbirds 10-7 on Sept. 7, defending state runner-up Colony Knights 14-7 on Sept. 15 and 10-7 over the defending state champion and former No. 1 Dimond Lynx on Friday night.
The Crimson Bears received 10 of the 13 first-place votes and 60 points in the poll. It's the third straight week at No. 1 for Juneau, which clinched its first CIFC title since joining the conference in 1995.
Taking the second spot in the large schools poll was the only other undefeated large school team, the West Valley Wolfpack of Fairbanks (7-0 overall and the champion of the Northern Railbelt Conference). West Valley picked up the other three first-place votes in the poll and had 53 points.
Chugiak (6-1) is third in the large schools poll with 35 points, Bartlett (5-2) is fourth with 27, while Dimond (3-4) and Wasilla (5-2) are tied for fifth with eight points. The only other school to pick up points was East Anchorage (4-3) with four points.
"We could just as easily be 2-5," Juneau head coach Reilly Richey said after Friday's victory over Dimond. "There are five teams in the CIFC that could win it all -- us, Bartlett, Chugiak, Dimond and East -- and when you throw West Valley into the mix that means it should be a good state tournament."
"I think any one of the four seeds from the CIFC could win state," Dimond coach Duncan Shackelford said before Friday's game. "I think right now there are four or five teams in the CIFC that can win the whole thing -- Juneau, Chugiak, Bartlett, us and East. Up there, West Valley is the only team that's really got a chance."
The Crimson Bears head to Anchorage this weekend to play the Service Cougars (1-6 overall, 1-5 CIFC) at noon on Saturday at the Anchorage Football Stadium in their regular-season finale. The Crimson Bears will host a first-round game in the state playoffs the weekend of Oct. 5-6, most likely a rematch against the Dimond Lynx who hold a tie-breaker advantage over the East Anchorage Thunderbirds for the CIFC's fourth seed in the state playoffs.
While Juneau retained its spot at the top of the large-schools poll, the defending state champion Nikiski Bulldogs remained No. 1 in the small schools poll for the sixth straight week following their 56-0 victory over the Sitka Wolves on Saturday. Nikiski (6-1 overall) picked up five of the six first-place votes and 29 points in the poll.
The undefeated Kenai Central Kardinals (7-0) picked up the other first-place vote and 21 points in the small schools poll and was in second place. Homer (5-2) had 14 points for third place, Houston (3-4) had 12 points for fourth and Soldotna (2-5) had six points for fifth place. Also receiving votes were Seward (3-4) with five points and Skyview (4-3) with three points. Skyview beat Ketchikan 54-6 on Friday in the only other game involving a team from Southeast Alaska.