Time ran out on the Juneau Huskies’ comeback bid over the Colony Knights on Friday night.
An Ali Beya 3-yard rushing touchdown made it a one-possession game in the fourth quarter, but the Knights — aided by a fake punt and penalties — bled the final nine minutes off the clock to secure a 28-20 victory at Pride Field in Palmer.
“I thought even tonight if we had another couple timeouts or another few minutes, they would’ve just kept scratching and clawing and trying to get that ball back,” Juneau coach Rich Sjoroos said. “We get the ball back with a minute to go, I like our chances. I just like these guys that much.”
Juneau (4-3, 2-1 Chugach) can still claim the Chugach Conference championship with a win at home Saturday against Bartlett. Regardless of that game’s outcome, the Huskies are playoff bound, but a win would seriously help their seeding.
With a win over the Golden Bears, the Huskies would finish the regular season tied for the best conference record (3-1) with Chugiak, who wrapped up conference play last week. Since Juneau beat Chugiak in Week 6, they would win the tiebreaker, and bump Colony to second place. A loss and Juneau falls to 2-2 in conference and takes the No. 4 seed behind Chugiak, Colony and Bartlett.
Colony (3-4, 2-2 Chugach), who lost four of five to start the year, will also appear in the postseason when it kicks off in two weeks. The top eight Division I football teams from the Chugach and Cook Inlet conferences advance to the playoffs.
“We’re a totally different football team than we were at the beginning of the season,” Colony coach Robbie Nash told the Frontiersman. “They are really coming together as a family. They are fighting for each other.”
Colony’s togetherness was on display early Friday, as Michael Bradley’s 3-yard carry and point after attempt put the Knights up 7-0 with 3:49 left in the first.
Danny Isaak put the first points on the board for Juneau.
The junior receiver’s 15-yard reception from sophomore Noah Chambers brought Juneau within 1 point of the Knights and brought the score to 7-6. Chambers was injured in the second quarter, and he was replaced by Cooper Kriegmont, who put up some points of his own.
His 3-yard run cut the score to 14-13, but the Knights answered back with senior receiver Hunter Sasser’s first of two touchdown catches with eight seconds left in the half.
“At some point, we got to hopefully make a play on that ball and have it go our way,” Sjoroos said. “I just thought tonight that kid (Sasser) did a good job of preventing that from happening.”
The Huskies host what could be their final home game of the season at 7 p.m. Saturday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Field. Juneau will play against the Bartlett Golden Bears. If the Huskies win, they’ll earn the No. 1 seed from the Chugach Conference heading into the playoffs, and host the state quarterfinals.
“They still have everything to play for,” Sjoroos said. “We’re the only team in the conference that if we win next week, we win the conference title. So I think that’s something to playing for.”
Colony — Bradley 3 run (Bradley kick) 3:49
Juneau — Isaak 15 pass from Chambers (kick failed) 2:04
Colony — Murphy 2 run (Bradley kick) 11:49
Juneau — Kriegmont 3 run (kick good) 1:14
Colony — Sasser 15 pass from Murphy (Bradley kick) 0:08
Colony — Sasser 34 pass from Murphy (Bradley kick) 4:32
Juneau — Beya 3 run (kick good) 9:11
RUSHING — Juneau: Kriegmont 11-113, Soto 11-51, Beya 8-74; Colony: Raval 28-109, Bradley 11-31, Freeman 9-34.
PASSING — Juneau: Chambers 2-2-0—29, Kriegmont 2-4-1—25; Colony: Murphy 5-8-1—99.
RECEIVING — Juneau: Isaak 1-15, Bryant 1-14, Sika 1-13, Beya 1-12; Colony: Sasser 4-90, Bradley 1-9.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.