Thunder Mountain High School defeated Juneau-Douglas High School 50-20 on Saturday at Adair Kennedy Field to kick off both schools' seasons.

Thunder Mountain High School defeated Juneau-Douglas High School 50-20 on Saturday at Adair Kennedy Field to kick off both schools' seasons.

Season Opener: 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.”

More in Sports

The author’s wife fights a steelhead while the author contemplates fly selection. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: The fear of missing fish

Student: “You know, FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out” Me: “I know… Continue reading

Astrophysicists Lindsay Glesener, left, and Sabrina Savage enjoy the sunshine on an observation deck at the Neil Davis Science Center on a hilltop at Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Waiting for the sun at Poker Flat

POKER FLAT RESEARCH RANGE — Under a bluebird sky and perched above… Continue reading

Maddy Fortunato, a Chickaloon middle school student, sets to attempt the one-hand reach by touching a suspended ball while remaining balanced on the other hand during the Traditional Games on Sunday at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Striving for the perfect balance of competition, camaraderie at seventh annual Traditional Games

More than 250 participants pursue personal goals while helping others during Indigenous events.

Purple mountain saxifrage blooms on cliffs along Perseverance Trail in early April. (Photo by Pam Bergeson)
On the Trails: Flowers and their visitors

Flowers influence their visitors in several ways. Visitors may be attracted by… Continue reading

Elias Lowell, 15, balances his way to the end of the pond during the annual Slush Cup at Eaglecrest Ski Area on Sunday, the last day of what officials called and up-and-down season. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Up-and-down season at Eaglecrest ends on splashy note with Slush Cup

Ski area’s annual beach party features ice-filled water, snowy shores and showboating skimmers.

Aren Gunderson of the UA Museum of the North inspects the back paw of a Siberian tiger donated recently by officials of the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage after the tiger died at age 19. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Siberian tiger takes final rest at museum

It’s a safe bet that Aren Gunderson’s Toyota Tundra is the only… Continue reading

A rainbow connects with Kajson Cunningham (30) as he connects with the ball for Thunder Mountain High School during Tuesday’s game against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé at JDHS, the opening match of the season for both teams. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
High school soccer season starts with a spectrum of goals and milestones

JDHS boys begin state title defense with 4-0 victory over TMHS, which is playing its final season.

Donovan Jackson, 12, of Juneau competes in the one-foot high kick during the 2022 Traditional Games on April 2, 2022. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file photo)
Record number of participants expected for seventh annual Traditional Games

Teams from Alaska, Canada and Lower 48 to compete in 12 Indigenous skills events starting Friday.

Alwen Carrillo, a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé, signs a letter of intent on Monday to play college basketball at Edmond College in Lynnwood, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Annie Lazo-Chappell)
Alwen Carrillo signs letter of intent to play basketball for Edmond College

All-state JDHS guard averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 assists during senior season.

Most Read