Saturday’s game was played at Thunder Mountain, and despite the home-field advantage, JDHS beat TMHS 45 to 7.
The two teams have met in pre-season since the new Mendenhall Valley high school fielded its first team four years ago. Both Falcons’ head coach Bill Byouer and Crimson Bears’ head coach Rich Sjoross say the game is a good shake down before the regular season begins.
“It was good for these guys to get a full four-quarter game in, with some good hard-hitting and some variety, a new offense for them,” Sjoross said. “We didn’t have a chance to scout them.”
He said Saturday’s game forced the players to make adjustments “by communicating with each other and starting to recognize formations, tendencies and that kind of stuff.”
The Crimson Bears had several adjustments to make early in the game when senior captain and team leader Phillip Fenumiai suffered a knee injury in the first quarter. Fenumiai is not only quarterback this season, he’s also playing safety. He reportedly hyper-extended his knee on a tackle.
Sophomore quarterback Dorian Isaak came in for Fenumiai and completed 6 of 10 passes for 161 yards, all in the second half, highlighted by a 68-yard touchdown pass to Brian Brassfield. Isaak also rushed for a score in the lopsided win.
“It felt good. I just wanted to stay calm, get out there and make plays. Stay in and show the coach I was ready and I was confident,” Isaak said. “I think the team did great. The line did great blocking. I think I need to work on my reads a little bit better; just be smart and stay cool when I’m back there.”
Bears junior running back Demetrius Campos carried the ball 13 times for 149 yards and a touchdown. Campos also returned a kickoff for a score, and senior Gary Speck scored on a 10-yard interception.
The Falcons’ Chris Mack scored in the first quarter on a 65-yard interception return. In fact, Mack forced four turnovers on defense for the Falcons. But the Falcons’ lone touchdown and extra point were the only scoring plays for the game.
“We got beat on some big plays,” Falcon’s coach Byouer said. “And then our numbers. I started getting kids really winded and hurt, and then the next thing I know I’m with 15 to 16 kids and I’m just sitting there trying to piece it together. We still could move the ball, but pretty much the wind was gone.”
Byouer called the game a step in the right direction as the team goes into the regular season, which begins next week with the Falcons at Sitka. The Falcons are in the small Southeast Conference with Sitka and Ketchikan, created two years ago. The Falcons also will play Kodiak and Skyview this fall.
The Crimson Bears compete in the Railbelt Conference against schools in the Fairbanks and Mat-Su areas. The Bears’ first game of the regular season is in Juneau, against Wasilla.