Jarrell Williams streaks down the sideline for Juneau’s second touchdown of the game. The Huskies are now 3-0 on the season with each win coming against other Cook Inlet Conference teams. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Jarrell Williams streaks down the sideline for Juneau’s second touchdown of the game. The Huskies are now 3-0 on the season with each win coming against other Cook Inlet Conference teams. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Huskies remain undefeated after win against West Anchorage

A victory 21-years in the making

The Huskies managed to shine despite the rain with a shutout victory against the West Anchorage High School Eagles on Saturday with a final score of 14-0.

Payton Grant started the game as quarterback and wasted no time getting things started by connecting with Jayden Johnson for a touchdown in the first quarter. Coach Rich Sjoroos said the strategy behind switching up QBs was simply a matter of building depth in all positions. Jarrell Williams started at quarterback in the first two games of the season.

“We’re just doing something different things as a team and just making sure we’ve got depth in all of the positions,” Sjoroos said. “Those guys have been competing all year and so we decided to give Payton a start and then we went back to Jarrell in the second half, and I thought they both responded well; they each had some plays and moments and challenges in others.”

Jayden Johnson makes his way toward the end zone to put the Huskies on the board as teammates and fans celebrate. Johnson also had a late interception that helped seal a win over West Anchorage High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Jayden Johnson makes his way toward the end zone to put the Huskies on the board as teammates and fans celebrate. Johnson also had a late interception that helped seal a win over West Anchorage High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Johnson had another impressive play in the first quarter with a big running gain toward the end of the quarter, advancing the ball to the 18-yard line, but the score would ultimately remain 7-0 until the fourth quarter. Williams came back in as quarterback for the Huskies in the second half of the game and ran it into the end zone with eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, bringing the score up to 14-0.

Johnson came up big again in the fourth quarter with an interception with just over four minutes left in the quarter. Lucas White sealed the deal with another interception at the end of the quarter to run out the clock and secure the win for Juneau. The Huskies remain undefeated in the season with a 3-0 record, including three in-conference wins.

Aside from some change-ups offensively, Juneau’s defense was its usual stingy self. With interceptions to forced fumbles and precise tackling, the Huskies’ defense dominated, which is something Sjoroos said continues to be their path to victory.

Juneau’s Eric Tipton (88) puts pressure on West’s Po’okela Puaoi who would manage to evade the Juneau defender. The Huskies’ defense was formidable throughout the game and held the Eagles scoreless. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s Eric Tipton (88) puts pressure on West’s Po’okela Puaoi who would manage to evade the Juneau defender. The Huskies’ defense was formidable throughout the game and held the Eagles scoreless. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“Basically, we just tried to keep our defense in a good spot all day and they played lights out, I think West has been averaging almost 40 points a game and for our defense to come up with a shutout was just beyond impressive,” Sjoroos said. “It was just enjoyable to watch, I’m proud of those guys, they communicated all day, they were just in the great spots, great tackling, just all the stuff you need for a great defense, they brought it today, so hats off to them, we would not have won the game without the way our defense played.”

Sjoroos said that the team plans to improve offensively and learn from every game with the hope of eventually playing equally well on both sides of the ball, but for right now he’s more than pleased to be playing well on special teams with solid defense while offense works to minimize mistakes.

Juneau’s Jamal Johnson (7) catches up to West’s Toby Miller (3) during the Huskies’ win on Saturday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s Jamal Johnson (7) catches up to West’s Toby Miller (3) during the Huskies’ win on Saturday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“We’ll just go from here, we’ll learn from it, we’ll get better in the areas we need to improve on, I’ll coach better and hopefully go up to Colony next week and give them a good game,” Sjoroos said. “Colony’s going to be the No. 1 team in the state, they’re undefeated at home, so we gotta bring our A-game if we wanna have a chance.”

Sjoroos noted that Saturday’s victory marks the first time in 20 years that Juneau has won a game against West Anchorage.

“I’m just proud of the kids for persevering, we haven’t had a varsity team from Juneau win against West since 2001, so that’s a big check mark on the box list of the things you want to accomplish as a program,” Sjoroos said. “West has kind of been somewhat over the last fifteen years, along with East, you could argue have been kind of the gold standard of football and we’ve had our challenges with them, whether it be regular season, playoffs, home or away. The other piece of that is West has always been a super strong second half team and to be able to keep them off the score in the second half said a lot about our preparation and our kid’s desire to come out on top today.”

Score by quarter

First QuarterSecond QuarterThird QuarterFourth QuarterFinal Score
Juneau700714
West00000

Up next

The Huskies are taking the show on the road with an in-conference game against Colony in Palmer. The game will be Juneau’s first Friday night game of the season. Junior varsity will kick off at 4 p.m., and the varsity game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

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