Winless in its inaugural season last year, few people could have predicted the Juneau Huskies’ success this season. The unified high school football team scored over 40 points in each of its first four contests — three of which resulted in wins.
In addition to a coaching overhaul, the team also got a brand new quarterback, sophomore Noah Chambers. As a freshman, Chambers played on the junior varsity squad that posted wins over Lathrop, Wasilla and Colony. Since making the jump to varsity this season, Chambers has thrived, having already thrown 13 touchdowns.
Fresh off arguably the team’s biggest win — a 21-7 triumph over previously-undefeated Chugiak — the Empire caught up with the team’s new signal caller on Thursday to talk about all things Huskies football. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: After the team went 0-8 last season, I don’t think many people in town envisioned you guys making such a strong turnaround this year. How would you describe the drastic improvement of the team this year?
A: I think just the energy is different from the town. Especially after that first few games, the team just started picking it up and people got more excited and started joining and we just kept working hard in practice and made a big emphasis of giving 110% and playing for each other.
Q: How good did that feel to win the trust of the coaching staff, to have them name you the starting quarterback as a sophomore?
A: It’s just great to have respect and trust from anybody on the team, even the players. It just meant a lot for coach (Rich Sjoroos) to put that in my hands. I played with him a little bit in (Juneau Youth Football League) and so I kind of understood the offense and we just went from there.
Q: Gaby Soto and Ali Beya, they’ve had big seasons as running backs. When the team has the running game going, how does that open up the passing game for you?
A: Our (offensive) line and Ali and Gaby and Cooper (Kriegmont) and Jahrease (Mays) and anybody that touches the ball has just been great this year, just ran with freakin’ anger, bouncing off people and fighting for yards. Anything like that is just going to open the passing game up tremendously.
Q: Would you say last weekend’s game against Chugiak was a high point for you guys so far this season, getting to beat an undefeated team?
A: Yes sir, definitely. … We went out there and played hard like coach preaches every week, and we executed. We just played a good football game. Anytime you step on the field with another team, the game can go to anybody, whoever wants it more is going to win that game. We definitely just wanted it.”
Q: Who are some of the quarterbacks that you look up to and have a lot respect for?
A: Dorian Isaak — he’s a guy who came through Juneau and had some success and he’s playing off at a college program right now. Those are my goals, go play college somewhere, and (in the) summertime he comes back and helps me out and helps me work on my game and stuff like that. As far as the NFL goes, I like Drew Brees. I think he’s my favorite quarterback. I just like how he plays.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.