Crimson Bears set date for playoff game

Opening-round showdown on Palmer's Machetanz Field scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m.

Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Playing the part of the blushing maiden, the Juneau-Douglas High School football team has accepted a date for Friday night at 7 p.m.

That is when the third-seeded Crimson Bears will be marching onto Palmer's Machetanz Field for their opening round playoff game against the second-seeded Moose in a rematch of the 2007 state title game.

JDHS fell in its first game of the year at Palmer 34-19 on Aug. 29, but the Bears are hoping to keep their streak of first-round victories rolling. They have made the state playoffs in every year since 2003, winning all five of their opening games.

"The day didn't matter much to us. (Playing on Friday) just means that it will be a short week for the kids - not that they feel bad about it," offensive coordinator Rich Sjoroos said. "If anything, I think we might prefer a Friday game like we play down here in Juneau."

The team will leave town Thusday evening, stay overnight in Anchorage and reach Palmer in time for a walkthrough prior to Friday evening's game. The coaching staff has already precisely planned out the next two days so as not to miss out on a minute of preparation.

Machetanz Field's natural grass is still in nearly perfect form, unlike the valley's other two facilities, thanks to timely home games that helped the Moose avoid playing in much rain this season.

"I'd say it's the nicest natural grass field in the state," Sjoroos said. "Some people think it's a turf field at first glance. I think our team plays on enough grass during the season, that the footing shouldn't be a problem."

Friday's forecast for Palmer calls for a high of 50 degrees and no precipitation, ideal conditions for a JDHS team that practices primarily on turf.

"They'll have a pretty big fan base at the field - they always do. We usually don't have a really large group that can travel with us," Sjoroos said. "We only had 30 or 40 fans that traveled with us last week, though, and they made quite the racket."

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