Juneau’s Ali Beya, right, runs against West’s Romeo Vaimili in the third quarter at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Field on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. West won 43-14. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Juneau’s Ali Beya, right, runs against West’s Romeo Vaimili in the third quarter at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Field on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. West won 43-14. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Juneau ends losing drought to Anchorage teams in stellar fashion

Huskies defense shuts out Mustangs the entire second half

The Juneau Huskies didn’t just bounce back from a tough loss, they reached new heights.

A week after losing by more than three touchdowns to West Anchorage, the Huskies (4-2, 2-0 Chugach) toppled previously undefeated Chugiak 21-7 Friday night at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium in Chugiak. The victory ended Juneau’s 11-year drought of road wins over Anchorage teams. A visiting Juneau team last beat an Anchorage team in 2008, when then-Juneau-Douglas defeated South Anchorage in the state semifinals.

“It’s been a tough thing to overcome — to come up to Anchorage and win some of these games on the road,” Juneau coach Rich Sjoroos said. “It’s tough environments and good football teams and so to get that crossed off the checklist is a good feeling.”

[‘Everything was perfect:’ Huskies couldn’t have played much better against Wasilla]

The Huskies now hope to leapfrog the Mustangs (5-1, 3-1 Chugach) in the conference standings by winning their next two contests, an away game Friday against Colony and home game the week after against Bartlett. Colony and Bartlett are 1-2 and 1-1 in conference play, respectively.

Sophomore running back Gaby Soto scored two rushing touchdowns. His 10-yard score late in the first half gave the Huskies the lead for good. Juneau held the Chugiak scoreless for three straight quarters.

Soto’s first-quarter score — an 80-yard run on Juneau’s first play of the game — was equalized several plays later on Chugiak quarterback Quentin Wilson’s 52-yard run.

Junior linebacker Cooper Kriegmont set up Soto’s second touchdown with his tackle of the Chugiak punter, who tried to scramble for yards after a wayward snap. The Huskies got the ball back on the Chugiak 40-yard line with plenty of time to go.

“He had the best defensive game of his life,” Sjoroos said of Kriegmont. “He was just all over the field and making plays on their side of the line. It’s hard to describe. He played unbelievably good on defense.”

Kriegmont scored the Huskies’ final touchdown with an 11-yard grab with about eight minutes to go.

“It was raining a lot — there wasn’t wind or anything — but there was a lot of rain, and just their concentration, (Ali) Beya had a big catch, Dawson (Hickok) had a big catch and Cooper had a big catch … all on that (touchdown) drive,” Sjoroos said.

The ample festivities that went along with the game made it feel less like a conference game and more like a playoff game, Sjoroos said. Chugiak High was celebrating homecoming, and the members of the 1984 Mustangs state championship team were in attendance for a 35-year reunion.

“It had that playoff feel and the game lived up to it,” Sjoroos said.

Juneau nonconference schedule (finished)

Aug. 16: Lost to Service, 58-42.

Aug. 24: Defeated Antelope Union (AZ), 56-18.

Aug. 31: Defeated Kenai Central, 59-18.

Sept. 13: Lost to West Anchorage, 43-14.

Juneau conference schedule (two games left)

Sept. 6: Defeated Wasilla, 63-0.

Sept. 20: Defeated Chugiak, 21-7.

Sept. 27: Away vs. Colony.

Oct. 5: Home vs. Bartlett.

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.

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