Lathrop's RJ Henry runs the ball during a game against Thunder Mountain at Lathrop High School on Saturday, September 10, 2016. ERIN CORNELIUSSEN/NEWS-MINER

Lathrop's RJ Henry runs the ball during a game against Thunder Mountain at Lathrop High School on Saturday, September 10, 2016. ERIN CORNELIUSSEN/NEWS-MINER

Lathrop silences TMHS

  • Monday, September 12, 2016 4:06pm
  • Sports

FAIRBANKS — The next three games on the schedule are critical for the Lathrop High School football team, so the Malemutes used Saturday’s contest against the Thunder Mountain Falcons as a tuneup for the task ahead.

Lathrop turned in a solid defensive effort, played well offensively in the first half and got another dazzling punt return from RJ Henry to claim a 35-0 nonconference victory.

Five different Lathrop players — Henry, Marshea Kent, Kailen Martin, Joshua Hernandez and Tyler Farris — scored touchdowns and Zach Kosa tacked on five extra points to account for Lathrop’s scoring.

“I was proud of our defense for playing all four quarters today,” Lathrop coach Luke Balash said after the Malemutes limited the Falcons to four first downs, 78 yards rushing and eight yards passing.

“We’ve kind of fallen apart on the back end the past couple of weeks, so it was important for us to play an entire game like that with the schedule we have coming up,” Balash added.

The Malemutes, 4-1 on the season and 1-0 in the Railbelt Conference, have three conference games remaining on the schedule — Friday at Wasilla; Sept. 24 at home against Colony and Oct. 1 at West Valley.

“Wasilla is always tough, Colony has one of the top two or three teams in the state and West Valley is a rivalry game,” Balash said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do to get ready for those games.”

In Saturday’s game against Thunder Mountain, Balash was especially pleased with the play of linebackers Wyatt Story and David Shepetko.

“Both of those guys have stepped in and just keep getting better,” Balash said. “I’m really proud of those guys.”

The Lathrop defense recovered a pair of fumbles to set up first-half touchdowns and the Malemutes recovered an onside kick to set up a third TD. Henry did the rest as he scored on a dazzling 70-yard punt return, dancing his way up the sideline in front of home crowd.

“He’s made one of those plays in almost every game this season,” Balash said. “That’s just what he does and that’s why a lot of colleges are looking at him as a return specialist.”

Henry’s punt return came with 1:36 left in the first half and gave Lathrop a 28-0 lead at the break.

Lathrop got on the scoreboard with 4:38 left in the first quarter.

After recovering a fumble on the Thunder Mountain 35, Lathrop took seven plays to find paydirt as Kent ran two yards for the score.

Thunder Mountain fumbled on the first play after the kickoff and the Malemutes went 33 yards in five plays with Hernandez completing a 12-yard scoring pass to Martin to cap the drive.

After recovering the onside kick, Lathrop mounted a 10-play drive covering 44 yards to make the score 21-0 with 11:13 remaining in the second quarter.

Lathrop’s only touchdown in the second half came with 2:39 left in the second quarter when Tyler Farris scored on a 1-yard run.

“I thought we played well offensively in the first half, but we’ve still got a lot of things to fine-tune this week,” Balash said.

The loss dropped Thunder Mountain to 3-2 on the season The Falcons host the North Pole Patriots on Friday in a Southeast Conference game in Juneau.

More in Sports

Trout Unlimited's Matt Boline holds a container with coho fry for official documentation of anadromous fish use in an unnamed creek in the vicinity of Juneau. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Survey says…

Our floatplane cleared the notch in the snowy ridge then turned slightly… Continue reading

Juneau’s PJ Foy, shown winning the 2023 100 yard butterfly in 48.27 for Thunder Mountain High School during the ASAA state championships at the Dimond Park Aquatics Center on Nov. 4, 2023, qualified for the 2024 June Olympic Team Trials by swimming a 100 long course meters butterfly in a personal best 53.44 on March 16, 2024, at the Speedo Sectionals in Federal Way, Washington. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire file photo)
Alaskans secure spots at 2024 Olympics; Juneau swimmer PJ Foy will try for his spot on Friday

TMHS graduate seeking to qualify in 100-meter butterfly at U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

At least one female wood duck has invented a novel feeding technique. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Wood ducks, redstarts, yellowlegs and flowers

Mid-June, and a few days ago we saw a wood duck with… Continue reading

Competitors in the AlaskAcross 2024 race prepare to depart from Eagle Summit at 10 a.m. on June 8, 2024. From left are Bruno Grunau, Mark Ross, Forest Wagner, Mike Fisher, Sarah Hurkett, Clinton Brown, Tracie Curry and Curtis Henry. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Journey through a sub-Arctic summer night

“You guys are the result of thousands of years of selection,” Fran… Continue reading

Barn swallows firmly attach their nests to walls, so they support the weight of nestlings and visiting adults.  (Photo by Bob Amrstrong)
On the Trails: Spring to summer

Spring temperatures were cool this year, but the lengthening days gave birds… Continue reading

In the spirit of Dolly Parton’s country music roots, race participant Mendenhall River Community School Principal Eric Filardi runs in costume with young Lucy Vogel wearing heart-shaped sunglasses as they enjoy the sunny Saturday weather on the Airport Dike Trail race course. About 85 runners participated, many wearing pearls and pink hats provided at the starting tent. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)
Busting out the pink and pearls at the first Dolly Dash

Dolly Parton-inspired fun run raises funds for free books for kids.

A cruise ship makes its way through early morning fog last summer. The passengers who have been arriving lately have not been experiencing similar tranquility. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Racing the weather

Daylight is unstoppable this time of year. Not like up in the… Continue reading

People often use sea ice, as seen here off Alaska’s northern coast outside the town of Utqiagvik, for travelling. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Did sea ice help populate the Americas?

Human footprints preserved in mud at White Sands National Park in New… Continue reading

Brown-headed cowbirds are professional egg-dumpers, always parasitizing the nests of other species. (CC BY 2.0 public domain photo).
On the Trails: Egg dumping behavior

Egg-dumping refers to the behavior of a female who puts her eggs… Continue reading

Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé’s Landon Simonson is greeted at home after hitting a grand slam on Friday during the Division I Alaska School Activities Association Baseball State Championships in Anchorage. (Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report)
JDHS baseball, TMHS softball teams make it to final day of state tournaments

Crimson Bears play for consolation title after grand slam win Friday; Falcons still in title hunt

Members of the Thunder Mountain High School softball team pose for a shot following their 18-0 victory against North Pole High School on Friday during the Division II Alaska School Activities Association Softball State Championships in Fairbanks. (Thunder Mountain Softball photo)
Final flight of the TMHS Falcons ends with 6-4 loss on final day of state softball tournament

“It’s been a fun ride,” coach says as team wins conference title, goes 29-12 during its final season.

Juneau’s Nate Fick leaps to make a catch while another Eagle River run scores during the opening game Thursday of the Division I Alaska School Activities Association Baseball State Championships. (Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report)
Crimson Bears finish sixth at state baseball tournament, coach calls season promising for young team

JDHS loses to Chugiak in consolation finale; scenarios for next season expand due to TMHS merger.