Powerful defense helps JDHS make gridiron history against Rainier

Posted: Monday, October 01, 2007

Without a doubt, the 2005 Juneau-Douglas High School state championship football team was the most dominant force in program history.

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But even that team didn't go 8-0.

The Crimson Bears accomplished that first Saturday night by routing previously undefeated Rainier High School from Rainier, Ore. 37-0. With the win, JDHS became the first team since 2000-2001 to win eight in a row.

In 2005, JDHS fell to Washington Class 4A powerhouse Pasco 48-7 in the regular season finale.

Large-school football standings

RAILBELT CONFERENCE

(Conference, Overall)

Y-Juneau-Douglas (6-0, 8-0

X-Wasilla (4-2, 6-2)

X-Palmer (4-2, 4-4)

X-Colony (3-3, 4-4)

North Pole (3-3, 4-4)

Lathrop (1-5, 1-7)

West Valley (0-6, 0-8)

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

Friday's scores

Wasilla 36, Palmer 35

Saturday's games

Juneau-Douglas 37, Rainier, Ore. 0

North Pole 54, West Valley 13

Colony 40, Lathrop 8

State Quarterfinals

Colony at Juneau-Douglas, time/date TBA

Palmer at Wasilla, 7 p.m. Friday

COOK INLET CONFERENCE

(Conference, Overall)

Y-Chugiak (6-1, 6-2)

X-East Anchorage (5-2, 5-3)

X-South Anchorage (5-2, 6-2)

X-Service (5-2, 6-2)

Dimond (3-4, 4-4)

Bartlett (3-4, 4-4)

West Anchorage (1-6, 2-6)

Eagle River (0-7, 0-8)

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

Friday's scores

East Anchorage 52, Bartlett 22

Saturday's scores

Service 40, Eagle River 0

Chugiak 40, West Anchorage 6

South Anchorage 44, Dimond 7

State quarterfinals

South Anchorage vs. East Anchorage, time/date TBA

Service at Chugiak, 2 p.m. Saturday

It's difficult and unfair to compare these Bears to their counterparts from a couple years ago. Defensive lineman Faifo Levale is the only player on this year's squad who saw significant playing time in 2005.

An examination of the statistics between the two JDHS teams, however, shows some interesting similarities, especially defensively.

For one, this year's Juneau-Douglas defense has allowed 10 less points to in-state opponents than the state champions. JDHS has given up 58 points against seven in-state opponents while the 2005 squad allowed 68 points in seven regular season games against Alaska competition.

The Crimson Bears' defense has been nothing less than dominant all season long and Saturday may have been its best game of the year.

JDHS did not allow any big plays in its second shutout of the season. Rainier's longest play came off a 37-yard run by Branden Staehely midway through the third quarter.

More importantly, however, the Crimson Bears' secondary blanketed the Columbians' receivers all night long. Middle linebacker Donovan Wilson and freshman safety Matthew Maka picked off passes as JDHS held Rainier receiver Hazze Walker to just one catch for nine yards.

The closest Rainier got to Juneau-Douglas' endzone was the Crimson Bears' 30-yard line.

IT'S PLAYOFF TIME

After eight weeks of regular-season gridiron action, the eight playoff teams are now ready for the postseason.

Railbelt Conference champs Juneau-Douglas (8-0, 6-0 Railbelt) will host No. 4 seed Colony (4-4, 3-3 Railbelt) either Friday or Saturday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Field. The two teams met in Juneau on Week 6 with the Crimson Bears winning 20-6.

In the other Railbelt Conference state quarterfinal game, No. 2 Wasilla (6-2, 4-2) will host No. 3 Palmer (4-4, 4-2) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Warriors and Moose played Friday in the Potato Bowl as Wasilla won 36-35 to seal a playoff bid.

In the Cook Inlet Conference, conference champs Chugiak (6-2, 6-1) will host No. 4 Service at 2 p.m. Saturday while defending state champions South Anchorage (6-2, 5-2) takes on East Anchorage (5-3, 5-2) either Friday or Saturday at Anchorage Football Stadium.

In the semifinal round, the JDHS/Colony winner will face the South/East winner in Anchorage either 7 p.m. on Oct. 12 or noon on Oct. 13.



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