With a conference title on the line, the Juneau Huskies didn’t just win —they won big.
The unified Juneau high school football team beat South Anchorage High School 42-7 on Saturday in the Huskies’ final game of the regular season. With the win, Juneau finishes the season with a 6-1 record overall and within the conference.
Here are five takeaways from the game and a look ahead to the Huskies’ bye week and first-round playoffs match-up.
The Huskies were moved to the Cook Inlet Conference this year and finished the season atop the conference.
“This is what everybody would say is the top conference for football in the state with all the large schools,” Sjoroos said.
The Huskies met the challenge by play six-and-a-half good games of football, Sjoroos said, referencing a poor second half against West Anchorage High School.
Taken as a whole, Sjoroos said he was pleased with and proud of the team’s performance across the season.
“Everything we’ve done on the field is everything and more we could ask of these guys,” he said.
After two away games, Saturday’s game served as a celebration of seniors in front of the home crowd.
The crowd at Adair-Kennedy Field was notably larger and more boisterous than it was at the start of the season.
“Senior day or night is always a challenge just for the logistics of getting through your pregame and getting the kids ready,” Sjoroos said. “It’s a different route, and you can’t really simulate that. And then it becomes a matter of getting those emotions in check and just focus on playing football.”
Sjoroos said the team did a good job of focusing on lining up and executing on both sides of the ball.
Standout senior scorers
Seniors were major factors in the win, too.
Wallace Adams, who was also named homecoming king following the game, chipped in a pair of interceptions and was six-for-six on extra-point attempts. Gaby Soto rushed for a touchdown.
James Connally scored three times —twice on receptions, once on a reverse.
“Connally has been a big threat for us all year, and it was nice to get him out in space.,” Sjoroos said.
Noah Chambers threw well-placed passes on those scoring plays.
“He’s been a solid quarterback since he was a little kid, and he’s probably been throwing the ball since he had diapers on,” Sjoroos said. ” He’s been ready for this, and he has a great cast around him, and I just like different guys are stepping up and making plays.”
The last of Juneau’s six touchdowns was the first of the season for junior Sam Sika.
Sika, who also plays defensive line for the Huskies, found his way to the end zone in a short yardage situation.
“I was so glad to get that ball,” Sika said after the game. “I was ready to hammer it down the middle. It came true. I had that in my dream.”
With a good game of football behind them, and a Saturday without a football game ahead, the Huskies are in a good place with the playoffs approaching.
Sjoroos said the lack of an Oct. 2 game is a welcome respite.
“I feel good. I feel that we’re where we want to be going into the playoffs,” Sjoroos said. “And now, we got a week off next week to get guys healed up and get caught up on school work and that kind of stuff.”
Juneau will host at least one playoff game as a result of the Huskies’ record.
After a pandemic-induced hiatus, Sjoroos said he’s happy playoff football is coming back to the capital city. If, after their upcoming bye week, the Huskies win on Oct. 9, they would be poised to host the next round, too.
However, Sjoroos emphasized that the playoffs are essentially a new season of football, and that Juneau is taking it one game at a time.
Welcome to the rough
The Huskies will host Dimond High School on Saturday, Oct. 9. A kickoff time will be announced later, but Sjoroos said an afternoon game is likely.
In their last meeting back in Week 2, Juneau prevailed 35-6.
“We know we’re going to play Dimond, so that (the week off) gives us a little extra prep time, and get everybody ready for a whole fresh start,” Sjoroos said. “It’s a whole fresh season when the playoffs start. So even though we’re the conference champs and playing at home, we’ve still got to raise our level of play knowing Dimond is going to come in with the same aspirations that we have.”
• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.