Juneau-Douglas High School football players Brett Fairchild and Zac Campbell were surprised on Sunday to receive phone calls telling them they'd both won special awards as part of the All-State Football Teams.
Fairchild was selected the state's offensive player of the year for large schools and Campbell earned the state's lineman of the year award from the Alaska Football Coaches Association, while Juneau's coach, Reilly Richey, earned the head coach of the year honor for the second time in three years.
Fairchild and Campbell said that while they were happy to receive the awards, they'd both trade them in for a different honor.
"My goals at the start of the season were first to win a state championship and then I had some individual goals, like to be first-team all-state as a defensive lineman and at least all-conference on the offensive line," Campbell said. "I'd trade the individual awards for a state championship."
"I'd give all the awards up to get our team a championship game victory," Fairchild said. "I'd easily give it up. It's kind of a no-brainer. We've never been in the final game before."
The two Juneau players and their coach won similar honors two weeks ago when the All-Cook Inlet Football Conference Football Team was announced. Only players who earned first-team all-conference honors were considered for all-state recognition, and Fairchild and Campbell headlined the naming of seven Crimson Bears to the large schools All-State Football Team.
Fairchild earned first-team all-state honors at quarterback after throwing for 1,187 yards and 11 touchdowns as the Crimson Bears posted a 7-2 overall record in a season that ended with a 31-0 loss in the state playoff quarterfinals to eventual large schools champion Dimond. Campbell earned first-team honors as an offensive tackle, while wide receiver Jacob Dutton, tight end Jake Miller and kicker Lee Sullivan also earned first-team recognition for the Crimson Bears.
Linebacker Sione Tupou and defensive back Willy Dodd were named to the second team at their positions. All of the Juneau players are seniors, except Sullivan who is a junior.
"Wow, it's definitely a big surprise. There are a lot of good linemen out there," Campbell said. "It's a nice surprise."
Campbell said he prefers playing defense, and was surprised when he only earned second-team all-conference honors as a defensive lineman. But he said the lineman of the year award shows he's a complete player.
"I thought I played better on defense than I did on offense," Campbell said. "But this award definitely takes into account how I played both ways on offense and defense."
Fairchild was equally surprised to hear about his honors, especially the offensive player of the year award.
"I'm stunned," Fairchild said. "I'm very surprised. I thought I had a chance for quarterback. But since we lost in the quarterfinals and lost our last couple of games, for the state picks I figured that held me down a little bit."
Richey was in Anchorage for the selection meeting and unavailable for comment on Sunday. But Campbell and Fairchild both said a lot of the team's success this year can be traced to Juneau's coaching staff.
Campbell said defensive coordinator Ray Bradley and receivers/defensive backs coach Jeep Rice prepared extensive scouting reports on their opponents after watching game films. Fairchild said Richey's soft-spoken demeanor and sense of priorities taught the Crimson Bears about life.
"I think that's it, he showshe doesn't have to be like that (like a drill sergeant) to be successful," Fairchild said of Richey. "He's an all-around nice guy. For us, it's always been family first, then school and then football."
In the other special awards announced on Sunday, Nikiski wide receiver David Holloway earned the Gatorade Player of the Year Award. Holloway is the only receiver to gain more than 1,000 yards in a season in Alaska football, and he's done it twice as Nikiski won the last two small schools state football titles.
West Valley's Justin Ferringer won the large schools defensive player of the year award, Preston Pickett of Colony won the utility player of the year honor and Bartlett defensive coordinator John Lewis earned assistant coach of the year honors.
In the small schools division, Holloway earned offensive player of the year honors, Nikiski's Josh Reilly was defensive player of the year, Nikiski's Gabe Lavigueur and Kenai's Dane Myers shared lineman of the year honors and Seward's Dan Bohrnsen was selected the coach of the year.
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.
The All-State Football Teams as selected by the Alaska Football Coaches Association during its annual meeting in Anchorage on Sunday. Only those players who earned first-team all-conference honors were eligible for the All-State Football Teams.
Gatorade Player of the Year (open to players from both large and small schools) -- David Holloway, Nikiski.
Offensive Player of the Year -- Brett Fairchild, Juneau-Douglas.
Defensive Player of the Year -- Justin Ferringer, West Valley.
Lineman of the Year -- Zac Campbell, Juneau-Douglas.
Utility Player of the Year -- Preston Pickett, Colony.
Assistant Coach of the Year -- John Lewis, Bartlett.
Head Coach of the Year -- Reilly Richey, Juneau-Douglas.
Offensive Player of the Year -- David Holloway, Nikiski.
Defensive Player of the Year -- Josh Reilly, Nikiski.
Linemen of the Year -- Gabe Lavigueur, Nikiski, and Dane Myers, Kenai.
Coach of the Year -- Dan Bohrnsen, Seward.
Alaska All-State Football Teams
Quarterback -- Brett Fairchild, Juneau-Douglas.
Fullback -- Justin Ferringer, West Valley.
Running backs -- Tyler Blewett, Bartlett; Ward Dobbs, West Valley; Adam Norton, Palmer.
Wide receivers -- Jacob Dutton, Juneau-Douglas; Travis Webb, Wasilla.
Tight end -- Jake Miller, Juneau-Douglas.
Center -- Jason Wilson, West Valley.
Guards -- Sloan Green, Bartlett; Tyler Glenn, Chugiak; Jered Dulany, Eielson.
Tackles -- Mike McKeown, Bartlett; Zac Campbell, Juneau-Douglas; Erich Chapman, West Valley.
Defensive ends -- Auno Filoialli, East Anchorage; Shawn Conwell, West Valley.
Defenive linemen -- Keenan Laird, Dimond; Willi Pili, East Anchorage; Jonathan Hillman, Palmer; Jason Wilson, West Valley.
Linebackers -- Justin Dailey, Bartlett; Chad Adams, Dimond; Justin Ferringer, West Valley; Ward Dobbs, West Valley.
Defensive backs -- Zack Bowman, Bartlett; Joe Chirhart, Dimond; Tim Hehnlin, Chugiak; Kyle Allison, West Valley.
Kicker -- Lee Sullivan, Juneau-Douglas.
Return specialist -- Jean-Pierre Saldarriaga, West Valley.
Punter -- Matt Wiles, Colony.
Long snapper -- Jason Wilson, West Valley.
Quarterback -- Jake Carney, Wasilla.
Fullback -- Jake Staser, Service.
Running backs -- Boaz Gionson, Bartlett; Ryan Ersland, Service; Travis Dutcher, Wasilla.
Wide receivers -- George Lochner, Chugiak; Roderick Hawkins, Eielson.
Tight end -- George Skinner, Eielson.
Center -- Tom McMichael, Chugiak.
Guards -- Travis Pippin, Service; Geary York, Wasilla.
Tackles -- Mitch Carey, West Anchorage; Jeff Whaley, Eielson.
Defensive ends -- Steve Echtinaw, Eielson; Bryan Lance, Chugiak.
Defensive linemen -- Raymond Parks, Bartlett; Stephen Martinez, Chugiak; Jered Dulany, Eielson; Shane Tufford, West Valley.
Linebackers -- Thomas McMichael, Chugiak; Nick Fuhr, Service; Jeff Smiley, Chugiak; Sione Tupou, Juneau-Douglas.
Defensive backs -- Willy Dodd, Juneau-Douglas; Roderick Hawkins, Eielson; Jon Rogers, Eielson; Travis Webb, Wasilla.
Kicker -- Tim West, Palmer.
Return specialist -- Zack Bowman, Bartlett.
Punter -- Colin Olito, West Anchorage.
Long snapper -- Greg Marlow, Bartlett.
Running back -- Jared Solberg, West Anchorage.
Linebackers -- Nathan Zody, Lathrop; Ali Larijani, Palmer.
Quarterback -- Josh Reilly, Nikiski.
Fullback -- Bobby Dunbar, Anchorage Christian Schools.
Running backs -- Steven Calderwood, Nikiski; Cory Janson, Kenai; Cason Simpson, Soldotna.
Wide receiver -- David Holloway, Nikiski.
Tight ends -- Todd Ghormley, Soldotna; Joe Foster, Houston.
Center -- Marcus Kuhns, Homer.
Guards -- Gabe Lavigueur, Nikiski; Mike Barrett, Houston.
Tackles -- Dave Myers, Kenai; Angelo Luna, Nikiski.
Outside linebacker/Defensive end -- Kyle Alexander, Nikiski; Cason Simpson, Soldotna.
Defensive lineman -- Dave Myers, Kenai; Gabe Lavigueur, Nikiski; Nigel Penhale, Nikiski.
Inside linebacker -- Josh Reilly, Nikiski; Darian Draper, Seward; Adam Crum, Homer.
Defensive backs -- David Holloway, Nikiski; Jonah Swiderski, Seward; Cory Janson, Kenai.
Kicker -- Chuck Seater, Nikiski.
Return specialist -- Steven Calderwood, Nikiski.
Punter -- Steven Calderwood, Nikiski.
Utility -- Mark McGarry, Skyview.
Long snapper -- Russell Shurtleff, Houston.