Crimson Bears push California team to the brink in defeat

Crimson Bears push California team to the brink in defeat

Juneau-Douglas High School junior Liam Van Sickle normally lines up as a wideout for the Crimson Bears football team, but after starting quarterback Bubba Stults went down with a leg injury in the second quarter of Saturday’s game against visiting Hoopa Valley High School, Van Sickle found himself under center and down 14-0.

Two quarters later, having staked their unlikely comeback on two passing touchdowns and a fumble recovery in the end zone, Van Sickle and the Crimson Bears had a fourth down attempt to win the game. Van Sickle lined up as holder for junior kicker Elliot Gifford, whose three point chip shot would have given the Crimson Bears a one point advantage.

But Gifford never got the chance to attempt the kick, which would have been his second game winner this season.

When the snap came in high, Van Sickle picked up the ball and called “fire,” signalling his teammates to find the end zone for a pass. Hoopa Valley tracked him down for a sack and all that remained was for the Warriors to run out the clock.

Juneau-Douglas lost 20-18, putting their record at 2-3 on the year.

“It was a little high and I panicked,” Van Sickle said of the fourth quarter field goal attempt. “I should have tried to get it down again because our line was doing an amazing job blocking. I called ‘fire’ and but the pass just wasn’t there.”

Though disappointed with the loss and saddened to see his teammates sidelined, Van Sickle was impressed by how the offense rallied around him.

“It felt pretty natural to come in because I had my teammates helping me through that, helping me call plays and get my mind right, which is so much of playing quarterback,” he said. “John (Ellisof, who was also sidelined with injury) and Bubba (Stults) are both amazing players. That’s part of our family going down like that. We missed our family so much on the field today.”

Van Sickle completed six passes on 12 attempts for 137 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Sophomore Cristian Batac led JDHS in rushing with 47 yards and Koen Schultz in receiving with 54 yards, 46 of which he racked up on a second quarter touchdown reception.

Hoopa Valley quarterback Ryan Reed completed seven of 13 passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Robert Masten led the Warriors in rushing with 98 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries while junior Tanner Wiltse led in receiving with 58 yards and a touchdown.

Hoopa opened scoring in the first quarter with a 7-yard passing touchdown and followed that up with a 23-yard passing touchdown at the top of the second quarter. JDHS worked their way back into the game with only seconds left in the first half by recovering a Wiltse fumble in the endzone for a 14-6 score after two quarters.

The Crimson Bears came back within two at the top of the third when Van Sickle found Donavin McCurley over the middle for a touchdown. Just seconds later, Masten rushed for a 33-yard score and the play of the game: a rumble up the middle where he hurdled a diving JDHS defensive back.

Masten was clearly the best skill player on his team.

Hoopa Valley, a team from rural Northern California, spent about a week in town and Masten said the trip helped the team gel.

“This trip just made the brotherhood come together. It’s just like home but city-like. We got trees, we have rain, we have a lot more heat though,” Masten said. “I wish Juneau a good season. They fought hard and are a good team.”

Juneau-Douglas faces Ketchikan next weekend at Adair-Kennedy Field.

Warriors 20,

Crimson Bears 18

Juneau-Douglas 0 6 6 6

Hoopa Valley 7 7 6 0

1st quarter

HV — Stephens 7 pass (PAT good), 3:16

2nd quarter

HV — Wiltse 23 pass (PAT good), 9:11

JD — McCurley fumble recovery (PAT blocked), 0:00

3rd quarter

JD — McCurley 39 pass (2-pt failed), 10:25

HV — Masten 33 run (PAT failed), 10:15

4th quarter

JD — Schultz 46 pass (2-pt failed), 10:30

Team Stats

Rushes-yds 24-136; 30-133

Pass yds 125; 111

Comp-att-int 6-12-1; 7-13-0

JDHS individual statistics

Rushing — Batac 47, Van Sickle 32, Galletes-Fiagatusa 28, McCurley 15, Hamrick 9, Stults 7

Passing — Van Sickle 6-12-1

Receiving — Schultz 54, McCurley 39, Batac 20, Galletes-Fiagatusa 15, Hamrick 8

Crimson Bears push California team to the brink in defeat
Crimson Bears push California team to the brink in defeat
Juneau-Douglas competes against Hoopa Valley at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park on Saturday. Hoopa Valley won 20-18.

Juneau-Douglas competes against Hoopa Valley at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park on Saturday. Hoopa Valley won 20-18.

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