The Juneau unified football team couldn’t quite find an offensive groove and fell 31-8 to Palmer High School at Machetanz Field in Palmer on Saturday.
“It was a learning experience but I was pleased with the effort and also on both sides of the ball there were glimpses of a lot of positives,” Phil Isaak, the interim head coach, said.
Coach Randy Quinto was still with his son’s Gastineau Channel Little League team at the West Region Tournament.
After going down 18-0, Juneau got the ball back with 39 seconds remaining in the first half and made several big plays to get deep in the Moose’s end. On the last play of the half, quarterback Thomas Willhoite scrambled and ran for about 15 yards before being pushed out-of-bounds at the 1-yard line.
Palmer led 24-0 after the third quarter.
Trailing 31-0 in the fourth quarter, Juneau scored its lone touchdown with only a few seconds remaining. Cooper Kriegmont found Danny Isaak for an 11-yard score and then secured the two-point conversion on a completion to Cristian Batac.
“I was really impressed with the attitude and how the Juneau kids stuck in there and flew around,” Palmer head coach Rod Christiansen said. “It was a lot more competitive than the score (indicated).”
Juneau plays against its first Division I (large schools) opponent of the season, West Anchorage High School, next weekend in Anchorage. The Eagles made headlines for snapping Soldotna High School’s 59-game winning streak with an 18-13 road victory on Friday.
Juneau’s first home game is in two weeks against East Anchorage High School. It’s one of two home games being played this year at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. The other two will take place at Thunder Mountain High School. Juneau takes on its first Chugach Conference opponent, Wasilla, on Saturday, Sept. 8.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.