As a wingback for the Juneau Huskies, junior Cooper Kriegmont did a little bit of everything: run the ball, catch the ball, block, etc.
On Saturday night against the Bartlett Golden Bears (7 p.m. kickoff at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park), Kriegmont will now take an even more central role in the Huskies’ offense. With sophomore quarterback Noah Chambers out indefinitely with a lower leg injury and Kriegmont tabbed as his replacement, the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder will be orchestrating the offense.
“I don’t have the accuracy that Noah has but I think I can run most of the same plays, we can do most of the same stuff,” Kriegmont said in an interview Wednesday with the Empire. “I played quarterback last year so I feel confident that I will be able to do my job.”
The Huskies have lost two of their last three games, but their Sept. 20 win over Chugiak kept a conference championship in play for this weekend. With a win over Bartlett (2-5, 2-1 Chugach), Juneau (4-3, 2-1 Chugach) can capture the Chugach Conference championship and begin the playoffs at home against the No. 4 seed in the Cook Inlet Conference. A loss to the Golden Bears and Juneau starts the playoffs on the road against the No. 1 seed in the CIC.
“We are taking it like every other game, but then again, we do take every game very seriously as if it was the state championship,” junior defensive end Jake Ferster said. “We could be playing some team from anywhere and we always take it seriously. So it’s always very serious and very anticipated, and we always think it’ll be a tough game no matter who we’re playing.”
The Golden Bears’ offense is led by senior Elijah Lilio. The 6-foot, 205-pounder has rushed for 830 yards and 10 touchdowns this season for a Golden Bears team that averages over 300 rushing yards a game.
“They’ve found a system that’s worked for them for 20 years and they’ve got a lot of different kids they can plug in there,” Juneau coach Rich Sjoroos said. “Last week they ran for 648 yards against Wasilla. … They probably had the ice bath going after that game. That’s a lot of running up and down the field.”
Juneau’s Ali Beya has also been doing a lot of running up and down the field this season. Through the end of last week, Beya has accumulated close to 700 yards on the ground and scored nine touchdowns.
Sjoroos said even with the change at quarterback, the Huskies’ playbook won’t change.
“I think we’ve kind of established our identity for the season, and it’s an identity that you never can have just one person that can run it,” Sjoroos said. “I think that’s a mistake if you make an offense around only one guy that can do it, then if that guy’s not there, then you leave yourself kind of scratching your head at what you’re going to do.”
Tale of the Tape
Conference Record 2-1
Lost to Chugiak 34-20
Defeated Colony 36-8
Defeated Wasilla 58-35
Season scoring average – 22.6
Season points allowed — 34.5
Conference scoring average – 38.0
Conference points allowed – 25.7
Rushing YPG – 343.1
Rushing YPC – 6.4
Passing YPG – 33.0
Conference Record 2-1
Defeated Wasilla 63-0
Defeated Chugiak 21-7
Lost to Colony 28-20
Season scoring average – 39.3
Season points allowed – 24.3
Conference scoring average – 34.7
Conference points allowed – 11.7
Rushing YPG – 247.2
Rushing YPC – 6.2
Passing YPG – 110.1
•Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.