Seven Bears tabbed for All-Conference team

Posted: Monday, October 04, 2010

Along with their big playoff win at home Saturday evening over the Chugiak Mustangs comes more good news for the Crimson Bears.

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Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

The 2010 Railbelt All-Conference team was named this weekend, and seven Juneau-Douglas players have been selected as some of the conference's best players.

Defensive coordinator Al Fenumiai was also selected as the All-Conference Assistant Coach of the Year, and coach Rich Sjoroos had nothing but praise for his colleague.

"He's instilled an approach that's a little bit unconventional in some footbal circles in the fact that he brings so much pressure on a pretty consistent basis," he said. "There are a lot of people out there that would be hesitant to be that aggressive, but he understands the kind of kids we have and how to get the most out of them.

"It's a philosophy he's stuck with from the first day, and it's one we're riding into the semifinals."

Sjoroos said coaches around the conference recognized the way Juneau-Douglas' defense dominated so many opponents, especially considering its lack of size and the adversity the team experienced over the course of the season.

Four JDHS players were selected from Fenumiai's defense, including Saturday's Player of the Game, senior Colin Gozelski, who was named as an All-Conference defensive back as well as wide receiver.

Joining Gozelski is junior shutdown cornerback Vinh Le, senior defensive end Justin Brooks and junior linebacker La Fifita, a player who Sjoroos believed could have been the conference's Defensive Player of the Year.

"I think that kid has had that kind of season. I know there are some good ones out there, but he was so valuable to us this year - making plays all over the field," he said. "A linebacker has to have instincts, and he has those where he can just sense where the ball's going, flow downhill and make big hits."

On the offensive side of the ball, senior wideout Chris Holloway joined Gozelski as one of three receivers chosen as All-Conference performers.

"Chris (Holloway) has really developed confidence-wise. He's always had a good set of hands and good speed, and now he's getting some favorable matchups," Sjoroos said. "He had the touchdown that put us ahead (Saturday), and in his younger days I don't know if he would have had the confidence to make that play. It's nice to have him and Colin (Gozelski) on both sides of the field."

Quarterback Phillip Fenumiai made the team as well after an impressive sophomore season, and Sjoroos recognized his progress.

"He's a big, strong kid who we've been running more, and that's been a good decision because he's getting some yards," he said. "Of course he's always had a good arm, and people forget that he's just a sophomore. His stats were pretty darn impressive and he's making good decisions this year.

"You want your quarterback doing good things, and he was great this year."

Gozelski and senior kicker Peter Jorgensen took honors as All-Conference punter and kicker, respectively. Both players are still in their first year with the team.

"Jorgensen was the top kicker in our conference, and that was good because the was Wasilla kicker was really good," Sjoroos said. "Peter's leg has improved with every game this year, and Colin was a dynamic athlete back there as a punter. He actually had a very impressive average and hardly gave up any returns."

The Crimson Bears will square off with West Anchorage at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Anchorage.

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