It didn’t look good early.
Wasilla quickly moved the chains on their first drive against Juneau, and seemed poised for a first down after a 6-yard run by Hunter Hayes set up a third-and-2. That fresh set of yards never came though, and the Warriors’ next two drives would end the same way, with an unsuccessful fourth-down conversion.
The Huskies’ defense was all over the field Friday night in a 63-0 blowout of Wasilla at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Field. The defense racked up sacks, interceptions and open-field tackles, which was everything the Warriors couldn’t execute against Juneau’s offense.
“That’s where practice comes in. We watched our film, we practiced our reads and everything. Our reads were perfect, everything was perfect,” said Huskies junior linebacker Meki Toutaiolepo, whose second-quarter interception led to Juneau’s sixth touchdown of the half, and fourth of the quarter.
Juneau’s attention was on Wasilla quarterback Colton Linquist, who rushed for more than 200 yards two weeks earlier in a 28-12 win over North Pole.
“No. 24 has been their guy,” Juneau coach Rich Sjoroos said. “He’s been able to hurt you on the ground and in the air, and we just knew we couldn’t let him get loose and I think we did a really nice job of following our keys and staying disciplined.”
Wasilla coach Ken Ottinger offered a different take.
“Honestly, just the kids are tired,” Ottinger said. “They woke up at 3 a.m., traveled all day, no sleep and everything. So they’re a little tired. They weren’t completely focused so it’s just a hard trip to come down and play.”
Huskies quarterback Noah Chambers played terrifically, and proved to be a dual-threat like his counterpart. Chambers got loose several times, including once for 13 yards on fourth down that brought the ball down to the Wasilla 23-yard line. On the very next play, the sophomore slung the ball to Danny Isaak in the corner of the end zone to go up 21-0.
After Toutaiolepo’s heist, Chambers again found Isaak in the end zone, giving the Huskies a 42-0 halftime lead. Gaby Soto, Cooper Kriegmont and Ali Beya also scored first-half touchdowns, and together they accounted for the bulk of Juneau’s offense.
“Our kids worked really hard this week; I thought the coaches worked really hard this week,” Sjoroos said. “I think as the game progressed, all that hard work started showing because different kids could go in there and still get stops on defense, make plays on offense. It wasn’t just Soto or Beya, there was other guys contributing tonight.”
The “other guys” included Wallace Adams and Jahrease Mays. Adams, a gifted kicker, intercepted the ball in the third and ran it about 70 yards, being brought down just short of the goal line. Mays capped Juneau’s scoring later in the quarter with his 5-yard run.
Juneau has scored over 55 points in three straight home wins, and now hosts West Anchorage at 7 p.m. Friday. The Eagles were 2013 and 2015 state champions and are trying to make it to their seventh consecutive appearance in the state final. West Anchorage, who lost to East Anchorage in last year’s state title game, defeated Bartlett 42-28 Friday to improve to 2-2 this season.
“We need all of Juneau to show up to this one, they’re the real deal,” Sjoroos said. “It’ll be our last nonconference game of the year and I’m just hoping our guys can rise up to the physicality that they’re going to see next Friday night.”
Juneau 63, Wasilla 0
Juneau 14 28 21 0 — 63
Wasilla 0 0 0 0 — 0
Jun — Soto 5 run (Adams kick), 8:15.
Jun — Beya 10 pass from Chambers (Adams kick), 4:18.
Jun — Isaak 23 pass from Chambers (Adams kick), 10:01.
Jun — Soto 5 run (Adams kick), 7:16.
Jun — Kriegmont 3 run (Adams kick), 2:19.
Jun — Isaak 20 pass from Chambers (Adams kick), 0:28.
Jun — Beya 6 run (Adams kick), 7:57.
Jun — Beya 38 run (Adams kick), 4:17.
Jun — Mays 5 run (Adams kick), 0:13.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.