Crimson Bears players rally on the sideline during Saturday's game against Thunder Mountain. TMHS won 50-20.

Crimson Bears players rally on the sideline during Saturday's game against Thunder Mountain. TMHS won 50-20.

Falcons football flies over short-staffed Crimson Bears

In unveiling their new offense Saturday night at Adair-Kennedy Field, Thunder Mountain High School seniors Cale Jenkins and Riley Olsen proved that Falcons are meant to fly.

Starting quarterback Jenkins connected with receiver Olsen for 51- and 62-yard touchdown passes in a 50-20 win over Juneau-Douglas High School, putting the shine on a new-look offense that has the Falcons balancing their power-run game with an explosive aerial attack.

Jenkins, who anchored a run-first offense last year, couldn’t be happier to graduate from game-manager to gunslinger.

“It was nice to be able to change from the power run last year and convert so much with the pass this year,” he said. “It felt good.”

The Falcons controlled the game by halftime with a 21-0 start and went up 29 before the Crimson Bears were able to get on the board in the third quarter.

Falcons head coach Randy Quinto was relieved after the game that his seniors were able to succeed with the new offense.

“We were worried about the offense, a brand-new offense. Bringing that out and unveiling that, it turned out good,” said Quinto.

Both of Olsen’s touchdowns came from slant passes over the middle he caught in stride. Jenkins led Olsen perfectly for the Falcons’ first touchdown, a 62-yarder with 8:31 left in the first quarter. His second came with 6 minutes to go in the second on a nearly identical 51-yard slant where Olsen burned the Crimson Bears defensive backs for a 21-0 lead.

The Crimson Bears’ offensive rhythm suffered under a lack of blocking. JDHS found spurts of success offensively, but junior quarterback Bubba Stults was never allowed time in the pocket.

“They (the offensive line) had a hard time sustaining the blocks,” said JDHS head coach Kevin Hamrick. “They made some good blocks, and had some good plays but it wasn’t consistent.”

Stults laid down a few nice completions when given time, including a 20-yard, second-quarter teardrop that brought the Crimson Bears into Falcon territory. The drive stalled at the 35, however, as the Falcon’s talented linebackers and surging defensive line never allowed the Crimson Bears to put a drive together.

With only 18 players in pads for the season opener, some of JDHS’ struggles came from not being able to run full scrimmages in practice. Hamrick said his offensive line needs more time to “go live” before they’re going to be comfortable on game day.

“We had a couple guys cramping up, a couple guys dinged up and you could tell we weren’t very deep. I was looking around for a replacement and I couldn’t find one,” Hamrick said.

Stults, who looked banged up on a play in the third quarter, even had to take the field as a linebacker toward the end of the game.

The Crimson Bears got on the scoreboard with 5:14 left in the third off a 21-yard pass to junior Liam Van Sickle. Stults connected with Van Sickle again in the fourth, splitting coverage on a 6-yard bullet to bring the game to 43-13.

JDHS running back and linebacker Lance Galletes-Fiagatuso — who was all over the field on Saturday making sacks and taking direct snaps at fullback — scored the Crimson Bears’ final touchdown with just seconds left in the game, a 45-yard run that proved him the heart of JDHS’ understaffed squad.

“We have to have more heart, we can’t make any excuses,” Galletes-Fiagatuso said. “That team’s not 30 points better than us. We can do better.”

• Contact Kevin Gullufsen at or at (907) 523-2228.

Crimson Bears senior Luis Lozada (99) gets up after a tackle Saturday.

Crimson Bears senior Luis Lozada (99) gets up after a tackle Saturday.

Crimson Bears junior Bubba Stults (left) and sophomore John Hamrick talk strategy during Saturday's game at Adair Kennedy Field.

Crimson Bears junior Bubba Stults (left) and sophomore John Hamrick talk strategy during Saturday’s game at Adair Kennedy Field.

Thunder Mountain junior Jacob Tapia (20) and Juneau-Douglas junior Tyler Collins (29) battle downfield for position during Saturday's game at Adair Kennedy Field. TM won 50-20.

Thunder Mountain junior Jacob Tapia (20) and Juneau-Douglas junior Tyler Collins (29) battle downfield for position during Saturday’s game at Adair Kennedy Field. TM won 50-20.

More in Sports

The Yukon River, seen here as a wide white band, is freezing later in fall and breaking up earlier in spring than it was a few decades ago. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Long-term views of a changed Alaska

As an instructor for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, I have stood before… Continue reading

A light dusting of snow covers the ground at Eaglecrest Ski Area on Wednesday morning. The planned opening for the ski area has been delayed a week until Saturday, Dec. 9, according to General Manager Dave Scanlan. (Photo courtesy of Eaglecrest Ski Area)
Eaglecrest delays scheduled opening by one week until next Saturday, Dec. 9

Warm temperatures and rain dissolved much of ski area’s snowpack, but cold and snow in forecast.

A female robin carries a wad of earthworms to her chicks. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: November gloom and cheers

I like to live where there are seasonal changes in weather and… Continue reading

Participants, many clad in fowl weather gear, head out onto the Airport Dike Trail during the annual Turkey Trot 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run on Thursday morning. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Turkey Trot participants thankful for fowl conditions

“Worst weather we’ve had in 10 years” just means burning off more calories.

Kristen Rozell skate skis in Valdez in January 2023. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Surfing in winter on cross-country skis

With mild temperatures and ample snow, much of Alaska is now primed… Continue reading

The author guides his skiff in the direction of muskegs free from digital connectivity, but there is no escaping thoughts of contemporary life. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Freedom of gratitude

I have fumbled for years attempting to put into words what the… Continue reading

(Peninsula Clarion file photo)
Soldotna hockey bounces back against Juneau

Juneau-Douglas High School: Kale loses 3-1 on Saturday after 4-3 win Friday

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Casey Blackwell, 10, crosses the finish line after running 27 laps around the indoor track at Dimond Park Field House to complete the 5K Pajama Jog on Sunday.
Juneau Girls on the Run go the distance during 5K Pajama Jog

Participants finish looking like stars — 27 of them — after completing that many laps around track.

Lance Fenumiai, a Juneau resident seen here carrying the ball in a rugby match for St. Vincent College in Pennsylvania, has signed a Major League Rugby contract with the Dallas Jackals. (Photo courtesy of Lux214 Media Group)
JDHS grad Lance Fenumiai signs pro rugby contract with Dallas Jackals

Former college All-American to spend holidays training intensely for season that starts in February.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé senior Samantha Schwarting and Thunder Mountain High School seniors PJ Foy and Olivia Mills (shown with Glacier Swim Club teammates) sign National Letters of Intent (NLI) on Tuesday at the Dimond Park Aquatic Center to swim and study in college. (Klas Stolpe for the Juneau Empire)
JDHS’ Schwarting, TMHS’ Foy, Mills sign

Longtime Glacier Swim Club teammates will compete collegiately.

Basketball players face off at Juneau-Douglas High School: for a basketball game in December 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)
Transgender sports ban now in effect, but Juneau and other school districts in no rush to comply

“I’ve never seen such unity against a policy,” local school member says after statewide conference.

George Houston, head coach of what at the time was Juneau-Douglas High School, watches his team play Colony High School in February of 2002 at JDHS. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
George Houston: A remembrance

Lifelong Juneau coach, mentor, educator and friend passes.