Juneau United hosts its first conference opponent of the season on Friday.
Varsity kicks off against Chugiak on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Field. Junior varsity plays at 4 p.m. Both games will be free for all active and former military as part of Military Night.
Juneau United coach Randy Quinto said his defense stepped up last weekend at Wasilla. It was the offense, as evidenced by the 15-0 score, that still has a ways to go.
“We have to listen to the kids and find out what’s working, what’s not working, where are the miscommunications,” Quinto said. “Those are the things that we’ve been focusing on this week. We can’t install a whole new offense, we can’t try to scrap everything and say, ‘OK, let’s do something new.’ Let’s fix what we have and make sure that we’re on the same page.”
Offensive coordinator Phil Isaak said the team’s five losses aren’t not because of a lack of effort. The team got inside the Wasilla 40-yard line about seven times, but just couldn’t capitalize on any of the drives.
“If you overthink it, it will drive you crazy,” Isaak said.
Isaak admits he sometimes does overthink it, but said he then remembers its just a game, and no matter how you cut it, there is a lot stacked against them this year. They’re senior-depleted and playing against the state’s best teams. They’re also implementing a system with brand new personnel.
Yet, the team’s not out of the playoff chase. They’re 0-5, but in Chugach Conference play, they’re only 0-1. All but the last-place team in the conference receives a playoff bid, and a win on Friday would go a long ways to ensuring Juneau doesn’t wind up in last. That’s because a win over Chugiak, which lost to Bartlett on Friday and forfeited a win over Wasilla the weekend before, would drop their conference record to 0-3 (and improve Juneau’s to 1-1).
“It’s a must-win for both Chugiak and us,” Quinto said.
Elsewhere in the conference, Colony (4-1, 0-1 CC) hosts Wasilla (3-2, 2-0 CC), and Bartlett (5-0, 2-0 CC) takes on nonconference foe East Anchorage.
Juneau United hosts one final regular season game next weekend against Colony at Thunder Mountain High School. The team will then whisk off to Anchorage for a Saturday afternoon matchup against Bartlett.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.