After stampeding their way through the Railbelt Conference, the Juneau-Douglas High School football team will face their toughest test of the season at 8 p.m. Saturday.
The Crimson Bears (7-0), ranked first in the state in the latest Anchorage Daily News / Alaska State Coaches Poll, end the regular season Saturday against visiting Pasco.
The Bulldogs (3-1) come to Juneau ranked third in Washington's Class 4A by The Seattle Times and have lost just 12 games in the last nine seasons.
Offensively, Pasco passes about 30 times a game and averages 37.7 points per game.
Junior quarterback Shayne Kelly has completed 62-of-121 passes for 900 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions. Kelly's top receivers are 6-foot-5 Bryant Whitby (20 receptions, 250 yards, four TDs) and 6-foot-1 Bryan Edwards (19 receptions, 241 yards, two TDs).
who: pasco, wash. at jdhs
when: saturday, 8 p.m.
where: adair-kennedy memorial park.
what's next: after saturday's contest, jdhs will either host west valley or north pole in the first round of the state playoffs.
Kaleb Whitby leads the team in rushing with 331 yards and six TDs on 58 carries.
The true strength of Pasco's team, however, lies along the offensive line.
Ryan Tolar - all 6-foot-6 and 330 pounds of him - leads the line and has committed to play for the University of Washington next year.
Defensively, the Bulldogs boast an All-Conference cornerback in Eric Hunter. Pasco has limited opponents to just 15.5 points per game this season.
Juneau-Douglas (7-0) counters with an offense and defense that has decimated opponents, especially in September.
Over the last four games, Juneau-Douglas has defeated opponents by an average margin of 45.5 points.
Juneau quarterback Chris Hinkley leads the offensive barrage as he continues to carve up opposing defenses.
Hinkley leads Alaska in passing yards (1,628) and TD passes (26). He's thrown only four INTs this season.
The junior also totes a .658 completion percentage after connecting on 98-of-149 passes this season.
Ryan Fagerstrom leads the receiving corps with 10 TDs receptions this season. Josh Lehauli, Angelo Katasse, Carlo Ebron and Daryl Lew have all proved themselves reliable receivers this season.
Senior Tres Saldivar leads Juneau-Douglas in rushing with 857 yards and nine TDs on 95 carries.
Defensively, the Crimson Bears received an emotional boost last week with the return of linebacker Pat Kohan. The senior recovered a fumble and scored on the game's third play to kick-start a 54-0 win over West Valley.
A key to Saturday's contest will be how much pressure JDHS can apply on Pasco's Kelly.
If Juneau-Douglas can break through the Bulldogs' powerful line, the Crimson Bears might be able to force a few turnovers and give the offense a shorter field to work with.
This game should be a back-and-forth affair and may come down to the final series.
After rolling through Railbelt Conference play, the Crimson Bears will be challenged by a team that can match in talent and size.
How Juneau-Douglas reacts to that challenge will determine Saturday's outcome.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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